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The Byrothon: a 24-hour reading of alumnus Lord Byron’s works

Trinity is hosting the The Byrothon: a 24-hour reading of alumnus Lord Byron’s works, 23 February – 24 February, which is free and open to all. The event launches the College’s bicentenary commemoration of Byron’s death, on 19 April 1824, while fighting for Greek Independence.

Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Byron in the Wren Library. Photo: James Kirwan/Trinity College.

He’s known for his literary flair, wit, charisma and unconventionality. Lord Byron, a student at Trinity 1805-1808, is notorious for bringing a bear to the College because dogs were not (and still aren’t) allowed. But there is more to Byron than his bear!

The Byrothon is a 24-hour livestreamed reading of Byron’s works and letters by Trinity students, Fellows, staff and alumni, including Succession and The Crown actor Pip Torrens, the current Lord Byron, the Master Dame Sally Davies, and prize-winning poet Dr Parwana Fayyaz.

Lord Byron was a prolific and brilliant writer. So popular were his works that pirated copies abounded. His flamboyance, good looks, literary talent and unconventional lifestyle drew admirers and detractors.

While at Trinity – a ‘villainous chaos of din and drunkenness, nothing but hazard and burgundy, hunting, mathematics …’ – according to the 19-year-old Byron, he brought to College his ‘new friend, the finest in the world, a tame bear.’ He wrote to a friend on 26 October 1807:

When I brought him here, they asked me what I meant to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.’ The answer delighted them not.

Emeritus Fellow in English Literature, Professor Adrian Poole, said:

Charismatic, complex, scandalous: Byron is our first modern celebrity. Byron was extremely well known, from America to Russia and everywhere in between, and his literary works were avidly read in his lifetime, when far more people regularly read poetry than today.

There’s more to Byron than a bear but there’s also far more to his writing than a few famous lyrics. There’s darkness, fun and endless energy. That’s why we are hosting the Byrothon – anyone can come, whether at 3pm or 3am – and listen to Byron’s works being read aloud in the College’s atmospheric Antechapel.

Professor Adrian Poole with a friend. Photo: Graham CopeKoga

The Byrothon takes place from 2pm on Friday 23 February to 2pm on Saturday 24 February 2024. The 24-hour reading of Byron’s works and letters is free and open to all, on a first come, first served basis.

Watch the livestream from 2pm Friday 23 February: The Byrothon: a 24-hour reading of Trinity alumnus Lord Byron’s works. 23 February 2pm 24 February – YouTube

The Byrothon Programme.

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