• Warriors & Rebels

    • The work of a great poet does not belong to any given country. After the terrible burning of Byron’s memoires, we at least have these conversations that Tomas Medwin transcribed after meeting him in Pisa in 1821.

    Conversations with Lord Byron / 

    On May 17th 1824, a month after Lord Byron’s death, his memoires were burnt in the living room of a house on Albemarle Street in London. Following the idea that they would be published, the pages in the manuscript had been entrusted by Lord Byron to his literary executor, Thomas Moore, two years earlier. But after the death of Byron, his editor, John Murray, tore up the letters and burnt them, believing they contained scandalous information that could damage his and Byron’s legacy and reputation.

    In the book Journal of the conversations of Lord Byron noted during a residence with his lordship at Pisa, in the years 1821 and 1822, written by Tomas Medwin, the author is bent on “lessening, if not redeeming, the evil” of burning Byron’s memoires.

    His book, written in the kindest and most fluid of tones, ranges from the description of this eccentric and masculine character, layered with poems that descend like lava and express what Byron was living at the time, the poet’s confessions on several subjects; the same that would have included in his memoires. Byron was a Don Juan if there ever was one, and a figure so dark and powerful that he would let himself become inspired by the most subtle of Italian sunsets. Today, thanks to Medwin we can penetrate one of the most passionate figures in the history of literature:

    How I became acquainted with so many particulars of his history, so many incidents in his life, so many of his opinions, is easily explained. They were communicated during a period of many months’ familiar intercourse, without any injunctions to secrecy, and committed to paper for the sake of reference only.

    […]

    His travelling equipage was rather a singular one, and afforded a strange catalogue for the Dogana: seven servants, five carriages, nine horses, a monkey a bull-dog and a mastiff, two cats, the pea-fowls and some hens, (I do not know if I have classed them in order of rank,) formed part of his livestock, these, and all his books, consisting of a very large library of modern works, (for he bought all the best that came out,) together with a vast quantity of furniture, might well be termed, with Caesar, “impediments”.

    For what it’s worth, this book presents us with one of the most loveable characters of English Romanticism so that we can dialogue with him in our spare time —and so that he can become a recruit of our army of literary ghosts.

    You can read the whole book here.  

    Tagged: books, poets, literature, writers, Warriors & Rebels, Lord Byron