Popular Poets

5. While living in Italy in 1819, Byron continued composing poetry, including a narrative poem based on the story of a Ukrainian gentleman, entitled Mazeppa, and a poetic treatment of Dante’s exile, The Prophecy of Dante. During this year, he also began writing Don Juan, a satirical poem based on the legendary Spanish character which subverted the traditional narrative and implicitly lampoon the Byronic Hero archetype. Although the first two anonymously-published cantos were initially criticized on the basis of their supposed immorality, they were also exceedingly popular and an immediate financial success. This volume of The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature (5:1820) includes engravings for poems by Byron.