LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of Lord Byron
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Biographical notices of Byron began appearing in March 1811, before his return from Greece, and quickly became a staple of periodical publication. The first book-length biography appeared in 1822, to be followed by the memoirs of Medwin, Dallas, and others published after the poet’s death in 1824. None of these satisfied the need for a full-dress biography by someone acquainted with the details of the poet’s private life, which was belatedly accomplished with the publication of Thomas Moore’s Life of Byron in 1830. This remained the authoritative treatment of the subject throughout the nineteenth century.

In the years to come Lord Byron and his Times plans to digitize a wide range of contemporary biographical material on Byron, good, bad, or indifferent. The point is not to learn new facts about Byron, though perhaps something will turn up. Rather it is to enable scholars to study how information circulated in print and how it was packaged and consumed by Byron’s contemporaries—in formats large and small, in modes laudatory or critical, in presentations intended for different segments of the reading public. We tend to forget how little Byron’s contemporaries really knew about his life, and how much rumors, uncertainties, and outright falsifications shaped the reception of his works. Byron himself was well aware of this of course, and crafted his works accordingly.

The memoirs published after his death filled in many of the missing portions of his life, though critical parts of the story remained suppressed until the twentieth century. The various memoirs by his friends and associates offered partial and contradictory accounts of his life and character that remain of interest not only for the facts related but for their immediate or considered responses to Byron’s life and writings. All of these writers faced difficult choices about what to tell and what to suppress; the decisions they made had lasting consequences.

John Bowring & Edward Blaquiere: “Lord Byron in Greece” in Westminster Review 2 (July 1824) 225-62
Francesco Bruno: “Last Moments of Lord Byron” in The Examiner No. 864 (22 August 1824) 530
Thomas Medwin: Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron (1824)
Robert Charles Dallas: Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron (1824)
Henry Southern: “Personal Character of Lord Byron” in London Magazine 10 (October 1824) 337-47
[William Maginn?], “My Wedding Night: The obnoxious Chapter in Lord Byron’s Memoirs,” in The John Bull Magazine 94 (July 1824) 19-21
William Parry: Last Days of Lord Byron (1825)
Pietro Gamba: A Narrative of Lord Byron’s Last Journey to Greece (1825)
William Henry Humphreys: Journal of a Visit to Greece (1826)
Leigh Hunt: Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries (1828)
Thomas Moore: Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, 2 vols (1830)
James Kennedy: Conversations on Religion, with Lord Byron and Others (1830)
John Galt: The Life of Lord Byron (1830)
Julius Millingen: Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece (1831)
Lady Blessington: “Journal of Conversations with Lord Byron” in New Monthly Magazine (1832-33)
James Hamilton Browne: “Voyage from Leghorn to Cephalonia with Lord Byron” in Blackwood’s Magazine (August 1834)
James Hamilton Browne: “Narrative of a Visit, in 1823, to the Seat of War in Greece” in Blackwood’s Magazine (September 1834)
Edward John Trelawny: Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron (1858)
Ralph Milbanke, Second Earl of Lovelace: Astarte: a Fragment of Truth (1905, 1921)