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Thread: Don Juan nature of Byron

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    Don Juan nature of Byron

    I believe that from Byron's own insecurities was born his best poetry - he thrived in the humbling of those he felt threatened by. Byron's rival poets, (who he calls the 'Lakers') wrote in a different style but at points were much more popular than him, and often were much better rewarded - Southey would be the most famous example, as he became poet laureate. What do you think?

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    Trully, Byron popularity is superior to the lake poets (even today, the only lake poet with some popularity is Coleridge. Wordsworth does not have a poem that is so easily repeated as She walks in beauty). Being a Lauraete would be like a taming of the shrew, much irrelevant. Byron did build his poetry alongside his "persona", sometimes one having interference on the other, sometimes his persona going over his poetry, but either you call it his weakness or strength it is up to you. Considering the quality of his poetry, calling it weakness seems however a huge mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Trully, Byron popularity is superior to the lake poets (even today, the only lake poet with some popularity is Coleridge. Wordsworth does not have a poem that is so easily repeated as She walks in beauty). Being a Lauraete would be like a taming of the shrew, much irrelevant. Byron did build his poetry alongside his "persona", sometimes one having interference on the other, sometimes his persona going over his poetry, but either you call it his weakness or strength it is up to you. Considering the quality of his poetry, calling it weakness seems however a huge mistake.
    Try telling that to everyone who has imbibed Wordsworth's "Daffodils" from an early age. It isn't his best by any means, but I would guarantee that even those who are not into poetry can quote "I wandered lonely as a cloud...." Byron was scathing about Southey, and his laureateship, and the other Lakeland poets, as they retreated from being the bright young radicals to staid establishment figures, but I would not say Coleridge is more known than Wordsworth. They were both pioneers, and are probably more highly critically regarded than Byron, great as he is. I think you're underestimating their worth.

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    That has nothing to do with worth (3 great poets as they are), but real popularity. I learnt english only after my addulthood and yet, when I was a kid I knew about Ancient Marineer thanks to a heavy metal music from one of the top selling bands of the 80's. That is just popularity. Colerdige concept of suspension of disbelief is everywhere, but Wordsworth's ideas in lyrical ballads not.
    As Byron, he is the original pop artist, beyond england itself (Wordsworth is not) but that has nothing to do with aesthetic merits. Byron was extremelly popular, if anything his popularity reduced with time. Being the Poet Laureat or not is irrelevant, almost only Tennyson was really an active popular poet while a Laureat (as Wordsworth was almost retired) and Byron radical life style (and political views) were certainly not receipe for the laureate.

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    The lake poets were english poets, Byron was the poet of europe. Wordsworth and Colleridge are important in england but outside of england few care/cared about them - Byron defined european poetry. Without him russian literature would not be as he had an enormous ifnleunce on Pushkin and Lermontov, which then infleunced all later russian novelists. In France Don Juan was one of the most read poems of the era. Not to mention his huge impact back home, without Byron, Persuasion and Wuthering Heights would have not existed.

    Besides what Coleridge or Worsworth poem can even begin to compare to Don Juan, heck none of their poems even compares to Childe Harold Or Manfred - and all this even though Byron died at 36 and the other two lived a full lifetime.

    Now if we look beyond the poetry, one can easily understand the second generation romantics detestation of the first generation. The first generation had ideals, which in maturity they gave up on for a comfortable socially acceptable life. Byron and Shelley may have gone on to betray themselves, but we shall never know, what we do know os that they were honest to themselves till their early deaths.

    I assure you poem was jealous of no ones fame. He and Goethe were the only poets of the time whose names were known by literary everyone in europe. Mention of the lake poets outside of england would have generated the common reaction of "who?"

    The only english romantic I would place above Byron is Shelley.

    Also the tittle of laureate truly means very little. In the entire 500 year history of english poet laureates there are only a handful who were actually great poets. I mean to understand how irrelevant the tittle is, just look at the current english laureate...Carol Duffy....

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