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George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron collection

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 892

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of manuscripts and letters by George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron, including a manuscript of the Preface to Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the manuscript of The Prisoner of Chillon; and letters to John Murray, Francis Hodgson, and Samuel Rogers. Other contents include several letters by Anne Isabella Milbanke, Baroness Byron; two notes by Catherine Byron, the poet's mother; and eighteen letters from Augusta Leigh to Francis Hodgson.

Dates

  • 1804-1927 1804-1822
  • Majority of material found within 1804 - 1822

Creator

Physical Description

0.42 linear feet (1 box) + 2 broadside items.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by gift and purchase from various sources, 1933-1968. Further acquisition information available in finding aid entries for individual items.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron Papers, 1806-1823. II. Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, Baroness Byron Papers, 1814-1856. III. Other Related Papers, 1804-1927.

Extent

0.42 Linear Feet ((1 box) + 2 broadside items)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.baronbyron

Overview

The collection consists primarily of manuscripts and letters by George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron, including a manuscript of the Preface to Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the manuscript of The Prisoner of Chillon; and letters to John Murray, Francis Hodgson, and Samuel Rogers. Other contents include several letters by Anne Isabella Milbanke, Baroness Byron; two notes by Catherine Byron, the poet's mother; and eighteen letters from Augusta Leigh to Francis Hodgson.

George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron (1788-1824)

George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron (1788-1824), British poet who became one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement and gained fame as much for his scandal-ridden personal life as for his poetry. Educated at Harrow and Cambridge, Byron embarked on an extended Grand Tour in 1808, visiting both the western and eastern Mediterranean.

On his return to England in 1812, Byron published the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a narrative poem featuring the first appearance of the "Byronic hero." The poem was a sensation, and Byron "awoke one morning and found myself famous." The following four years saw a series of successful publications, including The Bride of Abydos (1813), Hebrew Melodies (1815), and The Prisoner of Chillon (1816), and a series of often scandalous love affairs, including relationships with Lady Caroline Lamb and Lady Oxford.

Byron married the mathematically gifted heiress Anna Isabella Milbanke, Caroline Lamb's cousin, in 1814. The couple had one daughter, but the marriage soon broke down, and Byron was the subject of widespread rumors of adultery and an incestuous relationship with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. After signing a deed of separation in April, Byron left England and never returned. A summer spent at the Villa Diodati with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and her half-sister Claire Claremont resulted in the story fragment The Vampyre and the eventual birth of his illegitimate daughter by Claremont, Clara Allegra.

Byron spent the following years in Italy, settling primarily in Venice from 1816 through 1819, where he pursued a series of affairs with local women, documented in his correspondence and journals, and wrote, among other works, the first cantos of his Don Juan (1819-1824). This satiric poem is today considered Byron's masterpiece; the first two cantos were widely condemned for immorality when they were published anonymously in 1819.

In Venice Byron met the nineteen year old, and already married, Countess Teresa Guiccioli, moving to Ravenna and becoming her cavalier servente. The Count and Countess eventually separated, and Byron accompanied her to Pisa and later to Genoa. In 1823, Byron gave his support to the Greek Independence movement, and sailed to Greece late in that year. He planned to lead part of an expedition against Lepanto, but died of a fever at Missolonghi on April 19, 1824.

Processing Information

The George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron Collection is comprised of material formerly classed as MS Vault Shelves Byron.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing, in 2012.

The finding aid for this collection is largely compiled from individual catalog cards for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. Information from the catalog cards was repurposed in the finding aid in accordance with current archival descriptive standards. Some catalog cards, filed with the collection, include more detailed descriptions of individual items and/or provenance notes. Descriptions for items not represented by catalog cards were derived from accession records, folder labels, or other available descriptive material. Some items are accompanied by transcripts or other explanatory material; this is not generally noted in the finding aid.
Title
Guide to the George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron Collection
Author
by Beinecke Staff
Date
September 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.