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George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) is regarded as one of Britain's greatest poets. As famous for his personality as he was for his poetry, he was rebellious, extravagant and controversial, his life peppered with scandal. First published in the English Men of Letters series in 1880, this biography by John Nichol (1833-94), who also wrote on Carlyle for the series, argues that while Byron did not shape the Romantic era, his work was still highly influential on his contemporaries. Setting Byron's work in an historical context, Nichol shows how the society of his time both idolised him and condemned him as a moral outcast; he was also greatly admired for his efforts for the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire, during which he died. Nichol also discusses the creation of the 'Byronic hero', as much a reflection of Byron's flamboyant persona as an invented literary character.