Lord Byron. The name alone should bring up a certain image, as he was one of the first well known pop culture icons. Born in 1788, Lord Byron called England his home for the majority of his life. He pursued higher education, attending Cambridge University after going to Harrow School. Afterwards, he went on the Grand Tour through the Mediterranean, which helped inspire the setting of several of his future works. He is one of the most prolific Romantic poets, who created the Byronic hero archetype. His noteworthy publications include Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, The Corsair, Lara, The Prisoner of Chillon, Manfred, and Don Juan. It was the publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos 1 and 2 in 1812 that led to the rise in his fame, becoming famous and well known practically overnight. It was at this point where Lord Byron’s relationship with his publisher John Murray developed from professional to personal, as the two wrote letters to each other constantly.
Fame comes with a cost; as one of the most controversial literary figures, Lord Byron could not avoid drama. Due to the results of a failed marriage, numerous affairs and even an incestuous relationship that resulted in a child with his half sister, Lord Byron left in England in 1816 for the final time, never to return again. He spent the summer at Lake Geneva with Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, John Polidori and Claire Clairmont before travelling to Italy. He continued to write and publish with John Murray, exchanging gifts and letters as the years progressed.
As their relationship peaked, the conflicts of personal interest between John Murray and Lord Byron started to affect their friendship and business partnership. This will be explored in depth in later posts, as censorship and exploitation became an issue. Eventually, it came to be too much and Byron made the decision to leave Murray’s publishing house.
Unfortunately, Lord Byron’s life was cut short after dying from a fever in 1824. This was the result of fighting with Greek insurgents against the Ottoman Empire. He was hurt in the war, but not fatally. During his recovery, he developed the fever and his body could not fight the infection. At this point, Lord Byron had ceased contact with John Murray due to their fallout. This blog will look in depth at the relationship the author and publisher shared, as both their professional and personal relationship developed and eventually fell apart.
Works Referenced: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/byron_lord.shtml