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George Gordon Byron: The life of poetry and revolution.

  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· When did Byron begin his literary career?

· What was special about his pastime after graduating from the university?

· Was Byron popular during his lifetime?

· What was Byron’s contribution to literature?


Byron’s literary career began when he entered Cambridge University at the age of 17. Byron hated exploitation and sympathized with the working class. In 1807 when he was still a student, he published his first collection of poems “Hours of Idleness”. The critics attacked Byron in the leading literary magazine of that time “Edinburgh Review”. In a year Byron answered to the critics in his first satire “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers”.

In spring 1808 Byron graduated from the University.

Next year he went travelling and visited Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Albania (he was the second European man to visit it after the Ambassador). His choice was a surprise in itself because aristocratic young men never went to see Asian countries. In his travels over Europe the poet saw the life and customs of people. Byron described his travels in a long poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”. This poem made Byron famous.

On his return to England he learned that he had to attend the sessions of the Parliament. Rebellious by nature, the poet delivered numerous revolutionary speeches there which shocked other members of Parliament.

Byron’s popularity was enormous. Almost all young men copied his style in clothes, his facial expressions and his postures.

He was the first to introduce the new type of literary hero: a disappointed young man, trying to break away from the society and its prosaic and hypocritical life. His romantic hero had a number of constant features, among which one can name his demonic beauty, pale complexion and his scornful sardonic grin. He is a rebel with a delicate perception of the world and a sensitive soul. He is always a sinner with some mystery covering his past, he longs for freedom of his own personality and for self-realization.

He created the genre of lyric-and-epic poem.

In 1817 Byron went to Italy where he lived until 1823. The poet joined the Carbonary, a revolutionary organization that was struggling for the national independence of Italy. In Italy Byron wrote many of his best poems: “Don Juan” – a satire on bourgeois and aristocratic society, and “Cain”. During the same period he wrote his satirical masterpieces “The vision of Judgment” and “The age of Bronze”.

Then Byron went to Greece and joined the people in the struggle for independence against Turkey. The struggle for national independence became the aim of Byron’s life. In one of the Greek towns Byron fell ill and died on April, 1824 of brain fever.

His friends brought Byron’s body to England. They wanted to bury him in Westminster Abbey. But the English government didn’t let them do it and the poet’s body (except the heart, which was left in Greece) was buried in the family vault in Newstead.



posture – поза

hypocritical – лицемерный, ханжеский

complexion – цвет лица

scornful – презрительный, пренебрежительный

long for – очень хотеть, страстно желать

“Hours of Idleness” – «Часы досуга»

“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” – «Паломничество Чайльд-Гарольда»

“Cain” – «Каин»

“The vision of Judgment” – «Видение страшного суда»

“The age of Bronze” – «Бронзовый век»


  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: sympathize, European, rebellious, society.
  3. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· Byron was in the habit of sleeping during the sessions of Parliament.

· Byron took part in a number of foreign revolutionary movements.

· Some of Byron’s poems were written abroad.

· Byron is buried in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.


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