Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame

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In this masterful portrait of the poet who dazzled an era and prefigured the modern age of celebrity, noted biographer Benita Eisler offers a fuller and more complex vision than we have yet been afforded of George Gordon, Lord Byron.

Eisler reexamines his poetic achievement in the context of his extraordinary life: the shameful and traumatic childhood; the swashbuckling adventures in the East; the instant stardom achieved with the publication ofChilde Harold's Pilgrimage; his passionate and destructive love affairs, including an incestuous liaison with his half-sister; and finally his tragic death in the cause of Greek independence. This magnificent record of a towering figure is sure to become the new standard biography of Byron.
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About the author

Benita Eisler is the author of O'Keeffe and Stieglitz: An American Romance. She lives in New York City.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Jan 26, 2011
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Pages
880
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ISBN
9780307773272
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / History / Romanticism
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first biography in over sixty years of a great American artist whose paintings are more famous than the man who made them. George Catlin has been called the “first artist of the West,” as none before him lived among and painted the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains. After a false start as a painter of miniatures, Catlin found his calling: to fix the image of a “vanishing race” before their “extermination”—his word—by a government greedy for their lands. In the first six years of the 1830s, he created over six hundred portraits—unforgettable likenesses of individual chiefs, warriors, braves, squaws, and children belonging to more than thirty tribes living along the upper Missouri River.

Political forces thwarted Catlin’s ambition to sell what he called his “Indian Gallery” as a national collection, and in 1840 the artist began three decades of self-imposed exile abroad. For a time, his exhibitions and writings made him the most celebrated American expatriate in London and Paris. He was toasted by Queen Victoria and breakfasted with King Louis-Philippe, who created a special gallery in the Louvre to show his pictures. But when he started to tour “live” troupes of Ojibbewa and Iowa, Catlin and his fortunes declined: He changed from artist to showman, and from advocate to exploiter of his native performers. Tragedy and loss engulfed both.

This brilliant and humane portrait brings to life George Catlin and his Indian subjects for our own time. An American original, he still personifies the artist as a figure of controversy, torn by conflicting demands of art and success.

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