Tag: lord byron

Famous Authors and Their Pets

There’s nothing cozier than curling up with a good book and your furry companion. People have always had a special relationship with their pets; they offer us friendship and unconditional love, after all. Both classic and modern authors have had beloved pets that inspired their works and provided them with companionship. Here are a few.

 

1. STEPHEN KING’S CORGI MOLLY, THE THING OF EVIL

Image via Toronto Star

Renowned horror writer Stephen King loves his Pembroke Welsh corgi, Molly, who he refers to as “The Thing of Evil.” On Twitter, he likes to chronicle all the devious things she likes to do, such as enjoying (tearing up) boxes of tissues and raisin bran, relaxing after committing atrocious deeds, and hunting down the Purple Dinosaur of Decency (pictured above).

 

2. CHESTER HIMES’ SIAMESE CAT GRIOT

Image via LitHub

Crime fiction author Chester Himes, the creator of the Harlem Detective series, has had many cats. Griot, a blue point Siamese, was his favorite. Griot, Himes explained, was “named after the magicians in the courts of West African kings.” Himes would take Griot with him everywhere. If he didn’t, he would come home to find Griot had destroyed everything.

3. FLANNERY O’CONNOR’S PEACOCKS

Image via PBS

Author and essayist Flannery O’Connor, known for the thrilling and chilling short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” loved birds, peacocks especially. On her estate in Georgia, she raised over 100 peafowls, who she referred to in essays as “Kings of the Birds.”  She kept ducks, emu, ostriches, and possibly toucans as well.

 

4. LORD BYRON’S actual, literal bear

Image via The Paris Review

If there’s one thing you could always count on Romantic poet Lord Byron, it’s to be flamboyantly petty. Lord Byron attended Trinity College in the early 1800’s and hoped to bring his dog Boatswain with him. When he was told that his beloved dog could not come with him, Lord Byron purchased a tamed bear and tried to bring it to school with him instead. He wrote to his friend Elizabeth Prigot, “I have got a new friend, the finest in the world, a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.'”

5. GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S TORTOISES GAMERA AND MORLA

Image via GRRM’s Twitter

Fantasy writer George R.R. Martin has always loved turtles. As a child, they were the only pet he was allowed to keep. They lived in a castle, and Martin would pretend that they were kings and knights, fighting in battles. He cites this as where he got his inspiration for Game of Thrones, and their deaths inspired the more gruesome moments in the series. He currently has two tortoises, Morla and her “younger brother” Gamera.

 

6. KURT VONNEGUT’S DOG PUMPKIN

Image Via NYT

Pumpkin was a little shaggy dog and Sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut’s near-constant companion. On his affection for Pumpkin and dogs in general, Vonnegut had this to say, “I cannot distinguish between the love I have for people and the love I have for dogs.”

 

7. Charles Dickens’s Raven Grip

Image via Brain Pickings

Grip was the pet Raven of famed English author Charles Dickens. Grip apparently had a very extensive vocabulary for a bird, and Dickens wrote him into one of his lesser known works, Barnaby Rudge. When Edgar Allen Poe, still only a critic at the time, read it and was inspired by the fictional Grip to write his poem “The Raven.” Grip ate a paintchip in 1841, and passed away a few months later. A brokenhearted Charles Dickens had the bird taxidermied, and Grip now resides in the Philidelphia Free Library.

 

8. The Hemingway cats

Image via The Humane Society of Broward County

No list of author pets would be complete without mentioning Ernest Hemingway’s cats. Hemingway was gifted a little six-toed kitten named Snow White. Soon after, he began to adopt more cats, which led to even more kittens being born, around half of them having the same genetic mutation as Snow White. Now the descendants of these cats roam Hemingway’s house turned museum in Key West, Florida.

 

Take a little time to appreciate your own pet today. You never know, they might just inspire the next great work!

Featured image via Florida weekly

 

Happy Birthday, Lord Byron: 10 Things We Didn’t Know About This Icon

Lord George Byron was born January 22, 1788, in London, England, and died April 19, 1824, in Missolonghi, Greece. He is known as one of the best British Romantic poets and satirists of all time, penning works such as Hours of Idleness (1807), Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818), The Giaour (1813), The Bride of Abydos (1813), Lara (1814), The Corsair (1814), Don Juan (1818, but unfinished), and more. Even though he is known as a Romantic poet, he actually wrote a lot in reference to his own experiences, (even if they were a little promiscuous and full of heartbreak, affairs, and seduction), and was dubbed a freethinking “bad boy.”

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Sex, Drugs and Greek Rock and Roll

George Gordon Byron, referred to these days as simply Lord Byron, was one of the leading poets of the English Romantic period. Born on this day 232 years ago in 1788, he died aged 36. Byron was known for being subversive, racy and more than a bit eccentric – and just wait until you hear about his pet in college.

Byron was born in London to parents Catherine Gordon and Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron. Mad Jack married heiress Catherine, allegedly for her money. He gambled most of her fortune and fathered George before then dying in 1791. Rumors circulated that he had a grisly end, but tuberculosis is more likely.

 

One thing that Byron was known for, both in the 1800s and today, was his rampant promiscuity and his hazy sexuality. Like a lot of other literary heroes (looking at YOU, Joyce), he got it on with many people, to the detriment of his own health, and he was diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhea by the time he turned twenty-one. His romantic history includes a roster of relatives, like cousin Mary Chaworth and half-sister Augusta. While in education he experimented with young men, young women, not-so-young married women. Basically, he was busy.

thinkin’ bout boys (and girls) via wikipedia

Always the rebel, Byron was constantly breaking rules and basically being the O.G. Romantic Bad Boy. One of his lovers once described him as “Mad, bad and dangerous to know”. You know the type. He’ll write you poetry one day but break your heart two weeks later by asking your sister out (or his own, apparently). He is said to have enjoyed scaring people or making them uncomfortable. Allegedly, he had a tame bear during his time at Cambridge that he would walk around campus. This was in answer to his college denying his request to have a dog. Disclaimer: Bookstr does NOT recommend this as a method of working around your dorm’s pet allowances!

 

Since Byron was so busy ahem, dallying, with so many people, it should come as no surprise that he fathered a few children. He had some rumored, out-of-wedlock children, like Allegra Byron, alongside legitimate daughter Ada Lovelace. Allegra sadly died of typhus, aged 5. Ada, however,  grew to be one of the first software developers, having worked on very early computer software, a.k.a the Analytical Engine.

image via brittanica

Aside from writing, shocking and sinning, Byron’s other passion was Greece. No, not the 1978 classic film, the country. George donated a lot of his own fortune to the revolution in Greece. A War of Independence was being fought and Byron wanted to take part and fight alongside them against the Ottoman Empire. Sadly, he caught a terrible cold while abroad and it was a resultant fever that took him out in the end.

 

Bad Boy Lord Byron is celebrated today as a true Romantic poet. His narrative works Don Juan – all seventeen cantos of it!! -and Childe Harolde are renowned still. He moved in some seriously impressive circles, staying with the Shelleys in Italy as Frankenstein was being concocted. Despite his debauchery and his less-than-savory hobbies, he was passionate about his craft and wrote some beautiful poems which still resonate in a more modern age.

image via pinterest

Happy Birthday, Byron! Were he alive today, we have little doubt that his birthday bash would be of the strip club and shots kind. After all, he wasn’t Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know for nothing!


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Featured image via Poetry Foundation