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The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable

The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable


by George Gordon, Lord Byron

The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable Resources


The Victorian Web

Byron was a Romantic-era poet, not a Victorian (the Victorian period starts ~1837, the year that Queen Victoria was crowned in Britain), but the Victorian Web is still a useful site for students of the nineteenth century in general. This is the link to the section of the website devoted to the Romantic era.

Information on Chillon Castle

This website has some background information about François Bonnivard, the real-life prisoner of Chillon who was the inspiration for Byron's poem, and includes a picture of the castle.

Telegraph Newspaper Article Describing Lausanne

Byron wrote "The Prisoner of Chillon" in a hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva, way back in 1816. And the hotel is still there! You should check it out, if you're ever in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Video of a Boat Ride to Chillon Castle
This video shows off the beautiful landscape around Lake Geneva. Check it out, and imagine the prisoner of Chillon in Byron's poem looking out across the lake and sighing for his freedom!


Gothic Pillars in Chillon's Dungeon

We're told that the dungeon at Chillon had "seven pillars of Gothic mould" (line 27). Wonder what that would look like? This is an image of the actual cellars in Chillon Castle that were used as a dungeon. Byron and Shelley visited the castle (and, presumably, the cellars) when out sailing on Lake Geneva. Byron was inspired to write the poem, and the rest is history.

Engraving of Chillon Castle

This engraving of Chillon Castle is from the early nineteenth century, around the time when Byron was writing.

Aerial Photograph of Chillon Castle

This photograph of Chillon Castle and Lake Geneva gives you a sense of how the castle is situated relative to the water.

Portrait of Byron

Here's a portrait of Byron, looking charming and suave as always.

Historical Documents

1892 History of François Bonnivard

This is a history of François Bonnivard, the inspiration for Byron's "Prisoner of Chillon," which was written in 1892. The author may have gotten a few of the details wrong, but it's still an interesting read. The book was digitized by Cornell University's library, so you can access it here.

History of the Chillon Castle

This website offers some interesting background on the castle where the Prisoner of Chillon was imprisoned. Check out the photo of the castle – it's still there!


"The Uses of Romanticism: Byron and the Victorian Continental Tour" by James Buzard

This is an excellent article in the journal Victorian Studies by James Buzard. You'll need an electronic subscription (available through most libraries) to access this article.

Byron: A Critical Study, by Andrew Rutherford (1961)

This is a classic critical study of Byron's works. You can find a hard copy of it at most libraries, or you can access excerpts of it through Google Books, here.

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