Author of the most influential long poem of its era (Childe Harold's Pilgrimage) and the funniest long poem in European literature (Don Juan), Lord Byron was also the literary superstar of Romanticism, whose effect on nineteenth-century writers, artists, musicians and politicians ÇƒÏ but also everyday readers ÇƒÏ was second to none. His poems seduced and scandalized readers, and his life and legend were correspondingly magnetic, given added force by his early death in the Greek War of Independence. This introduction compresses his extraordinary life to manageable proportions and gives readers a firm set of contexts in the politics, warfare, and Romantic ideology of Byron's era. It offers a guide to the main themes in his wide-ranging oeuvre, from the early poems that made him famous (and infamous) overnight, to his narrative tales, dramas and the comic epic left incomplete at his death.
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