The works of George Gordon, Lord Byron have long been controversial, nearly as controversial as his lifestyle. Gordon Byron was born with a clubfoot and his sensitivity to it haunted his life and his works. Despite being a very handsome child, a fragile self-esteem made Byron extremely sensitive to criticism, of himself or of his poetry and he tended to make enemies rather quickly. The young Byron was often unhappy and lonely any many of his works seem to be a sort of introspective therapy. Throughout his writings and life history there is much evidence to suggest that his poetry was greatly influenced by his mental instability. In many ways, Byron seems to use his work as an escape from a difficult reality. The lengthy poem Don Juan offers an especially intimate glimpse of Byron's psyche.
In order to understand the depth of Byron's psychological troubles and their influence on his poetry, it is important to examine Byron's heritage and his upbringing. Young George Gordon inherited the title of Lord Byron at the age of six. This him a rank in society and a bit of wealth to go along with it. Byron's heritage is a colorful one. His paternal line includes the "Wicked Lord", "Mad Jack and "Foul Weather Jack (Grosskurth 6)." The family propensity for eccentric behavior was acerbated by young George Gordon's upbringing.
When Byron was just three his financially irresponsible father died, leaving the family with a heavy burden of debt. Byron's mother then proudly moved from the meager lodging in Aberdeen, Scotland to England. Young Byron fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious grounds of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byron's by Henry VIII, had received little care since. He and his mother lived in the run down estate for a while. While in England he was sent to a "public" school in Nottingham where he was doctored by a quack named Lavender who subjected the boy to a torturous and ineffective treatment for...
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