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Proms Literary Festival: Byron

Kevin Jackson and Nick Dear discuss romantic poet and political hero George Gordon Byron in the opening event of 2010's BBC Proms Literary Festival. Matthew Sweet hosts the debate.

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, romantic poet and political hero is discussed by critic Kevin Jackson and Nick Dear, writer of the BBC drama 'Byron" in the opening event of this year's BBC Proms Literary Festival.

Kevin Jackson and Nick Dear discuss why Bryon's life and work had such an enduring appeal. Is it the story of his reckless love affairs, international political activism and early death after defending Greek liberty - as portrayed in Nick's film, which starred Jonny Lee Miller as the poet himself? Or is it actually the power of his writing itself - from Don Juan, to the Prisoner of Chillon and the creation of the "Byronic hero".

Byron's writings borught to life some of the most enduring romantic heroes in literature - and they have had a powerful attraction for other artists. The 2010 Proms features several adaptations of Byron's work by composers - and this literary event precedes a concert featuring two settings by Schumann and Tchaikovsky of Byron's metaphysical poem Manfred, about a Swiss noble who seeks forgiveness from spirits for his past actions.

The Proms Literary Festival is now in its third year - tackling some of the literary and cultural dimensions of this year's Proms concerts, in front of an audience right next door to the Albert Hall at the Royal College of Music and just in advance of the concerts themselves.

Night Waves presenter Matthew Sweet hosts this Byron debate recorded in front of an audience at the Royal College of Music.

Readings by Tobias Beer

Producer: Laura Thomas.

20 minutes

Broadcast

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