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In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism.

George Gordon Noel Byron was born, with a clubbed right foot, in London on 22 January 1788, the son of Catherine Gordon of Gight, an impoverished Scots heiress, and Captain John ("Mad Jack") Byron, a fortune-hunting widower with a daughter, Augusta.

He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model.

From his Presbyterian nurse Byron developed a lifelong love for the Bible and an abiding fascination with the Calvinist doctrines of innate evil and predestined salvation.

Early schooling instilled a devotion to reading and especially a "grand passion" for history that informed much of his later writing.

The new poems in this first public volume of his poetry are little more than schoolboy translations from the classics and imitations of such pre-Romantics as Thomas Gray, Thomas Chatterton, Robert Burns, and James Macpherson’s Ossian, and of contemporaries including Walter Scott and Thomas Moore.

Missing were the original flashes of eroticism and satire that had enlivened poems in the private editions that were omitted from .

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