Lord Byron and the John Murray Archive

A very special evening took place at the Greek Embassy in London on Wednesday, at a private viewing of the «Lord Byron and the John Murray Archive» collection. Jointly organized by Greek Ambassador Vassilis Pispinis and Lady Balfour of Burleigh, trustee of the National Library of Scotland and Chairman of the Campaign for the John Murray Archive, the event featured manuscripts written by the hand of, or related to Lord Byron. The documents are part of the John Murray Archive which has now been acquired by the National Library of Scotland. In his address, Ambassador Pispinis noted: «Lord Byron’s passionate association with Greece is one of the pivotal links which bring together our two countries. The treasures on show this evening bear witness to the poet’s love for Greece, its culture, its language and, especially, its people. These documents also attest to the fact that Byron established a pattern in the relationship between Greece and Britain, which has endured, in peace and war. Through his personality, his genuine interest and his poetry, he also shaped the way his continental contemporaries saw Greece. Before Byron, Europeans looked at Greece almost uniquely from a classical perspective, as an object of antiquity. Byron radically changed that perception. Through his verses he wrote while in Greece, he revealed to the world a picture of a country full of passion and color, still very much alive, a country peopled by contemporary living beings deserving better than the fate which was theirs.» The private viewing included a notebook belonging to Lord Byron with words and phrases written in Greek, his last diary, «Cephalonia Journal, 1823-1824,» as well as an excerpt from his unfinished poem, «Aristomenes, Canto First.»