In a manner that echoes how the Parisian public first encountered the artist's genius at the Salons of the 1820s, visitors to The Met's exhibition are confronted by two monumental canvases representing the poles of Delacroix's imagination: an allegory of war, "Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi
" and a Biblical subject, "Christ in the Garden of Olives" (182426).
However, during the Easter of 1824, when he died at Missolonghi
, one resurrection, that is empirically verifiable, did take place: "that monster known as Byronism" rose from Byron's corpse and began to live a life of its own (Eisler 752).
By all intents and purposes, then, Byron's death could be classified as parasuicide, no matter how different the tableau at Missolonghi
was like, in 1824.
In the dismal, marshy town of Missolonghi
he lived a Spartan existence, undertaking to train troops whom he had himself subsidized and exhibiting great practical grasp and power of leadership amid an incredible confusion of factionalism, intrigue, and military ineptitude, and despite an unhappy passion for his Greek page boy, Loukas.
1824: Leading poet Lord Byron died of a fever at Missolonghi
while aiding Greek insurgents against the Turks in their fight for independence.
In addition they were all romantics, of course, but after the beautiful example of Friedrich Schiller, or Byron going to Missolonghi
to fight for Greek independence: They were "the last/supreme romantics," "ultimate romantics" as Peter Whitehead very aptly says about Godard.
It is then in a portion of Armance already laden with Byronism--in a portion of the novel where Octave is for instance specifically preoccupied by thoughts of fighting the Turks at Missolonghi
(see OC 5: 183-84, 188), the Greek town where Byron prematurely and tragically had died of fever in 1824--that the first of Stendhal's direct allusions to Othello appears:
THE PHRASE "INHERITORS OF UNFULFILLED renown" is Percy Bysshe Shelley's, in his Adonais (1821), an elegy for John Keats, and could be applied to all three of the major poets portrayed in Young Romantics: Keats, who died of tuberculosis in Rome at the age of 25; Shelley, who drowned a year later, one month before his 29th birthday, in the storm that sunk his sailboat off the coast of Liguria; and George Gordon, Lord Byron, who died in 1824, 36 years old, of fever and bungled medical treatment at Missolonghi
, where he had gone to join the fight for Greek independence.
On his earlier Mediterranean trip, Galt had undertaken various feats of speed-translation from Italian as a pastime--for instance, when confined indoors by wet weather in Missolonghi
, or while in quarantine at Messina.