Portrait of Byron, from 'The works of Lord Byron', 1819 [Library shelfmark: ABS.3.93.20].
George Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron, was one of the most popular writers of the early nineteenth century.
Born in London to an English father and Scottish mother he inherited the title of Lord Byron at age 10.
This was the first of Byron's works to be published by Murray.
From 1812 until 1822 Murray published all Byron's works and their fortunes were entwined.
A 'ludicrous work'
July 1818 [Library reference: MS.43489].
A disastrous marriage to the heiress Annabella Milbanke and debts caused Byron to flee England for Italy in 1816, where he continued to write instalments of 'Childe Harolde' as well as new poems and dramas.
In July 1818 Murray wrote to Byron asking for new work. Byron replied in a letter dated 10 July 1818:
'I have completed an ode on Venice; and have two stories, — one serious & one ludicrous'
The 'ludicrous' work he referred to was 'Don Juan'.
Later in 1818, Byron sent John Murray a manuscript of canto I of 'Don Juan'. Read more about 'Don Juan' manuscript.