This is the book that made Lord Byron (George Gordon) famous. He was a published and a known poet, but until this book took the English-speaking world by storm in 1812, he was not a famous poet.
He was, however, a celebrity. As an aristocrat whose personal life was considered shockingly scandalous - and even today would be good stuff for celebrity gossip magazines - his name was known. His previous work was received out of a mixture of literary merit and personal notoriety. This book directly capitalizes on that. Childe Harold narrates the experiences of a young nobleman, sated with the wine, women, and song of his native England, who goes forth in search of the wine, women, song, and adventure of Spain, Greece, and the Ottoman Empire.
The book is literally an armchair travelogue in rhyming couplets, quite unlike anything before or since. He expresses himself in vivid, forceful and emotional language on the landscapes, people, customs, and cultures he encounters, and shapes his experience into a deep study of that subject so favored by all the Romantic poets - himself.
This performance of the work is underscored at intervals with excerpts from the music of Byron's contemporary, John Field, often regarded as the inventor of the nocturne - a form of Romantic music very well suited to the romanticism of the poet and his work.
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- Tim McGrath
Byron by Bethune