Byron- BBC series from 2003

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Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:32 pm

I just watched it- my neighbour lent me the DVD. I thought it was quite good- Johnny Lee Miller looked quite like Lord Byron. Of course, the "relationship" between him and Augusta Leigh may have been untrue, but this drama decided to go on the promise that it was. The way Miller played him, one got the sense that Lord Byron was always playing at being someone and never truly got to know himself. I couldn't believe that he really cared about the poor- it seemed to me he was just saying he did to get a reaction from the upper crust circles. Well he never donated anything to poor charities did he? I'm not saying he was all bad of course- I don't know how true to the real Lord Byron this drama is, but he struck me as someone who wanted to be dissolute more than his actual genuine nature was- Miller played him as uncomfortable with it at times. Nice to see P B Shelley in it, but no mention of dear Junkets.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Saturn » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:24 am

Good series, very rushed though.
Keats wouldn't be in it, they never met, and even Shelley who was a great friend of his is barely seen and not really fleshed out at all, and besides this was entertainment, not a documentary.

Like most depictions of Byron, it focuses on his scandalous life, and the poetry and letters are overshadowed. This Byron is the one people want, no-one cares about his great work anymore, it's more convenient and more entertaining to see him as the devil incarnate, the wicked Lord :roll:

Despite that Johnny Lee Miller was very good, and when the script gave him the opportunity to show the more vulnerable and sensitive side of Byron he played it very well.

You may have a point about Byron wanting to get a rise from the reactionary elements in the Lords by defending the frame breakers, but he was genuinely interested in ordinary people throughout his life.

Well he never donated anything to poor charities did he?


Well charities as we know them today didn't exist then, it was the preserve of the ultra rich philanthropists, and even if Byron was one of them and despite being a lord he certainly wasn't, he was always generous to friends and lovers [his wife aside]

About the relationship with his half sister; it's pretty much accepted by everyone now that they did have an unnatural relationship and I certainly wouldn't defend that, and his treatment of his wife was disgusting, his neglect of his daughter by Claire Clairmont, Allegra, was deplorable.
He certainly wasn't a saint and I have an uneasy relationship with Byron; admire his work, and but find the man a beguiling but sometimes very unpleasant person.

It's sad that his dissolute lifestyle and bed-hoping shenanigans have put his writings in the shade because his influence as a poet on the whole of European thought and the burgeoning romantic movement in art, music and literature cannot be underestimated, it was simply staggering.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:25 am

Good series, very rushed though.
Keats wouldn't be in it, they never met, and even Shelley who was a great friend of his is barely seen and not really fleshed out at all, and besides this was entertainment, not a documentary.


Yes- it was rushed. Of course I didn't expect John to be in it , or even get a mention- but Lord Byron and P B Shelley must have talked about him- P B Shelley at least recognised John's genius.A longer series would have allowed more of the Byron- Shelley friendship and their conversations about poetry to be explored.


Like most depictions of Byron, it focuses on his scandalous life, and the poetry and letters are overshadowed. This Byron is the one people want, no-one cares about his great work anymore, it's more convenient and more entertaining to see him as the devil incarnate, the wicked Lord :roll:



I totally agree Saturn- I didn't get a real sense of him being a poet as I did with John and Bright Star. But I think John by far the greater poet and one whose being was more involved in being a poet. I don't think Lord Byron was wicked- far from it- just rather dissolute at times and confused- if this drama showed him accurately. But, I have to say John Keats was by far a nicer, more genuine, loving person than Lord Byron.


Despite that Johnny Lee Miller was very good, and when the script gave him the opportunity to show the more vulnerable and sensitive side of Byron he played it very well.



Yes- he did. It got me wondering- what was actually wrong with Lord Byron's foot? I know the club foot thing is debunked now.


You may have a point about Byron wanting to get a rise from the reactionary elements in the Lords by defending the frame breakers, but he was genuinely interested in ordinary people throughout his life.



Really....so that would be why he looked down on a middle class young man like John Keats? :o


Well he never donated anything to poor charities did he?


Well charities as we know them today didn't exist then, it was the preserve of the ultra rich philanthropists, and even if Byron was one of them and despite being a lord he certainly wasn't, he was always generous to friends and lovers [his wife aside]



I know they didn't have the same sorts of charities back then...but there were some societies/movements set up to help the poor.


About the relationship with his half sister; it's pretty much accepted by everyone now that they did have an unnatural relationship and I certainly wouldn't defend that,



Oh so it is true then? I didn't know it actually was- thought Lady Caroline Lamb made it up out of revenge.


and his treatment of his wife was disgusting



He should never have married her- they were not suited at all.

his neglect of his daughter by Claire Clairmont, Allegra, was deplorable
.


Sent to a convent the drama showed.


He certainly wasn't a saint and I have an uneasy relationship with Byron; admire his work, and but find the man a beguiling but sometimes very unpleasant person.



You know, watching this drama Saturn, it struck me that John Keats would have heard about Byron's unpleasant behaviour, the rumours about his relationship with Augusta and I think he wouldn't have been impressed with what he heard.I'm not saying John was a saint but he certainly had values and aside from not liking Byron's poetry anyway, he might have been rather disgusted by what he heard about Byron. He wasn't even keen on PB Shelley who was a more pleasant character than Byron.


It's sad that his dissolute lifestyle and bed-hoping shenanigans have put his writings in the shade because his influence as a poet on the whole of European thought and the burgeoning romantic movement in art, music and literature cannot be underestimated, it was simply staggering.



I read in the biography on John Clare that after Byron died poetry went out of fashion , until the later Victorian poetry. Was the drama accurate in portraying Lord Byron as promiscuous? They didn't show him being interested in men either- which some people say he was. From the little I have read it seems it was women who were his weakness not men (although he may have been bisexual- it seems to me it was women he couldn't keep his hands off).
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Saturn » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:30 am

He was certainly bisexual, there is no question about it to my mind, yet some people still refuse to believe it. One of his greatest loves was when he was a pupil at Harrow with a choirboy, and then later in Greece with a Greek boy. Of course these relationships are far too scandalous, even than his infamous ones with Caroline Lamb and his half-sister to be depicted on screen.

As for the 'club' foot, the consensus seems to be nowadays that it was actually that one his legs was shorter than the other and slightly twisted, hence the limp, but even during his lifetime no-one wasreally sure what was wrong with him, or even which foot it was! He was though, as if to compensate a superb swimmer, as witnessed by his famous feat of swimming the Hellespont from Sestos to Abydos just like Leander swam to his beloved Hero in the Greek myth. Byron however did it as a race, for a bet :mrgreen:
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Malia » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:29 pm

Is it true that Byron was a sex addict? I thought I read somewhere (cannot remember the source) that he would sometimes have "debauchery" sessions that lasted for days--bedding 10's of people (50-60) in one "session". Also, while of course we can't definitively diagnose a dead person, I've heard some scholars say that Byron my very well have been a manic depressive. *That* I can see. I can imagine he might have suffered a great deal if his emotions kept swaying back and forth to such extremes.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:35 pm

Saturn wrote:He was certainly bisexual, there is no question about it to my mind, yet some people still refuse to believe it. One of his greatest loves was when he was a pupil at Harrow with a choirboy, and then later in Greece with a Greek boy. Of course these relationships are far too scandalous, even than his infamous ones with Caroline Lamb and his half-sister to be depicted on screen.

As for the 'club' foot, the consensus seems to be nowadays that it was actually that one his legs was shorter than the other and slightly twisted, hence the limp, but even during his lifetime no-one wasreally sure what was wrong with him, or even which foot it was! He was though, as if to compensate a superb swimmer, as witnessed by his famous feat of swimming the Hellespont from Sestos to Abydos just like Leander swam to his beloved Hero in the Greek myth. Byron however did it as a race, for a bet :mrgreen:


I was reading about him on wiki- what a strange man he was! It said that he loved animals and was mostly vegeterian- I didn't know that- the drama had him throw the parrot out of the window... :shock:

And his daughter Ada was the world's first computer programmer!!! (Of course not a computer in the modern sense).
Funny how incest can be shown in a drama but not two men having an affair...
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:38 pm

Is it true that Byron was a sex addict? I thought I read somewhere (cannot remember the source) that he would sometimes have "debauchery" sessions that lasted for days--bedding 10's of people (50-60) in one "session".


Yuck if it was true! It's a wonder he didn't get an STD.


Also, while of course we can't definitively diagnose a dead person, I've heard some scholars say that Byron my very well have been a manic depressive. *That* I can see. I can imagine he might have suffered a great deal if his emotions kept swaying back and forth to such extremes.


The drama showed him to be depressive. He didn't get on with his mother and his father had had a mental illness and he was sexually abused as a child- explains a lot.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Saturn » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:10 pm

Explains but not excuses his own abusive relationships, especially of young boys.

His greatest period of debauchery was when he was in Venice, when he had countless affairs with prostitutes, noblewomen, housewives. He certainly did contract all the usual STD's but never lived long enough I suppose for anything serious to really affect him. If he wasn't a sex addict, I'd be highly surprised.

He was many things, a mass of contradictions, good, and a lot of bad, which i suppose is one reason the fascination with him continues and will continue no doubt. I just wish his work wasn't so unfairly ignored.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:34 pm

Explains but not excuses his own abusive relationships, especially of young boys.


How young?

His greatest period of debauchery was when he was in Venice, when he had countless affairs with prostitutes, noblewomen, housewives. He certainly did contract all the usual STD's but never lived long enough I suppose for anything serious to really affect him. If he wasn't a sex addict, I'd be highly surprised.




Is there evidence to prove he had an STD? Interesting about the sex addict thing- not every medical person agrees it actually exists.
I didn't know he was that extreme in his sexual misadventures. It is said that highly promiscuous people are often deeply lonely or unhappy- trying to fill the void in their lives with pleasure- of course it doesn't work.


He was many things, a mass of contradictions, good, and a lot of bad, which i suppose is one reason the fascination with him continues and will continue no doubt. I just wish his work wasn't so unfairly ignored.


I wouldn't say his work is ignored Saturn- his poems are studied at university- I was supposed to read Childe Harold's Pilgrimage in my first year at university- I say supposed- I read the first few lines and just couldn't get into it. We didn't get any of John's though- wish we had!
John....you did not live to see-
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Cybele » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:57 pm

So I'm not the only one with mixed feelings about Byron, eh?

While we're all more complicated than our skins show, Byron was one *complex* dude! It's so hard for me to separate his outrageous and scandal-filled private life from his art.

Yet his oeuvre is impressive -- & he continues to influence writers and other artists. (I loved the way the controversial Camille Paglia compared him to Elvis Presley! :lol: )

And let's not forget Greece! The Greeks revere the guy -- I truly believe that they would have been under the thumbs of the Turks for many, many more years, had it not been for Byron's untimely death. (I also believe that Byron went to Greece knowing that he would never leave.)

(BTW, one of the most fun reads of my life was Isaak Asimov's annotated edition of Byron's "Don Juan." -- Yes folks -- *that* Isaak Asimov! The prolific science fiction writer was interested in far more than sci-fi!)
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:35 pm

I have lived and worked in Greece- I never thought to ask them what they thought of Lord Byron. I knew they didn't like the Turks though.
I used to know a man in London when I lived there a few years ago (he was in a literature group I went to) and he was obssessed with Lord Byron. He dressed in a Bryonic way and got emotional about Lord Bryon's time in Greece. He tried to emulate him- he told everyone he was aristocracy but had lost the title, or something like that, was an incorrigable flirt ( was always trying to ask me "improper" questions/make suggestions etc) and more eerily, had a strange relationship with his daughter. I used to regard him with amusement. Despite all his oddities he could be entertaining.
John....you did not live to see-
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Ennis » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:08 pm

Hello, everyone!

The Uninhibited Byron -- an unusual read!! Can't think of the author, and it's not a recent publication (may be from the fifties or the sixties), but it makes for interesting reading! made me dislike Byron even more! even though my brother, after reading it, felt pity for him.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:55 pm

I cannot feel that sorry for Lord Byron- (only for his childhood)- most of his problems he brought on himself but for our John yes- his illness he could not help- TB after all is a bacterial infection and nothing could be done to stop it then, and his troubles were not brought on by his doing- it was fate dealing him a poor hand. And of course, Ennis, John was a lovely person :D but Lord Byron could not be described as that (for all that he did for the Greeks).I know who I'd rather have been married to ...
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Cybele » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:41 pm

Ennis wrote:Hello, everyone!

The Uninhibited Byron -- an unusual read!! Can't think of the author, and it's not a recent publication (may be from the fifties or the sixties), but it makes for interesting reading! made me dislike Byron even more! even though my brother, after reading it, felt pity for him.


Thank you, Ennis. I'm going to look for this one.
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Re: Byron- BBC series from 2003

Postby Cybele » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:07 am

My favorite Byron-related story:

Many years back, I invited a few of my friends to our house to celebrate Lord Byron's 200th birthday. I was not happy with the principal at our kids' school when he decided that the annual January pizza party would be held on January 22. (Months earlier I had agreed to coordinate these things for that school year.)

I changed around my plans, recruited other moms and dads to help but decided that while the kids were feasting on pizza, I was going to treat the adults to some birthday cake to honor Byron.

One of the moms helping out the effort was a Greek-born lady who taught English at a university in a nearby city. (She frequently joked that she taught lawyers to speak English. :lol: ) I mentioned to her that I had birthday cake back in the kitchen to celebrate the poet's b-day. She absolutely stopped in her tracks, visibly moved, "Oh how wonderful that you'd remember his birthday!" She wiped away a tear and then asked, "What kind of cake?"

"Devil's food, of course," I answered with a faint smile, hoping not to offend.

She threw back her head and let out a hearty laugh. Collected herself but shortly resumed chuckling and went off to get a piece of cake.

Because of her reaction, I reckon I had more fun than I might have had celebrating with my original plan.
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