In 1822, after having been discharged from the British navy, deserted by his wife, and as good as disowned by his father, the thirty-two year old Edward John Trelawny set off for Italy to make the acquaintance of his hero, Lord Byron. "I have met today the personification of my Corsair," Byron wrote in a letter. "He sleeps with the poem under his pillow, and all his past adventures and present manners aim at this personification." But though Byron enjoyed the company of his admirer, and was eventually to embark with him on his ill-fated final expedition to aid in the War of Greek Independence, he had grown guarded and ironical with age, and the perfect meeting of minds that Trelawny had envisioned was not to be. Shelley, however, enchanted him. In the months before his death at sea, he and Trelawny were frequent companions, and the young poet emerges from these pages in all his splendid carelessness and otherworldly concentration.
Byron: The Erotic Liberal is the first book to focus on the erotic dimension of Byron's political career, as expressed in both Byron's poetry and his prose. Jonathan David Gross draws on extensive archival research into the life and letters of Lady Melbourne, whose correspondence with Byron shaped his erotic imagination and influenced his engagement with the biblical story of Joseph. Gross places Byron's politics in the context of the writings of other European aristocratic liberals, such as Madame de Sta l, to consider anew Byron's relationship to women and his political peers. Yet Gross successfully brings Byron into our modern age, making use of recent work in women's studies and gay studies to explain how Byron's sexuality shaped his political beliefs.
George Gordon, Lord Byron was born with a deformed foot. He was manic-depressive, athletic, and erotic. He embodied the romantic, revolutionary, patriotic, and free-living life of poetry as no one before him. He was the greatest artistic celebrity of his time, inspiring composers and poets, moving among eminences. Genuinely bisexual, he was involved in affairs with fellow students at Harrow and Cambridge. He fathered children on chambermaids, was incestuously involved with his half-sister, married a woman who soon left him. He was linked with the scandalous Caroline Lamb, with Mary Shelley's half-sister Claire Clairmont, with the married Countess Teresa Guiccioli in Ravenna. Constantly in debt, he traveled in Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Albania, and Italy, as though he could feel truly alive only in exile. The first publication of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" in 1812 made him famous, if not rich. He joined forces with Shelley in Italy just before Shelley drowned at sea; he undertook his poetic masterpiece, Don Juan, in Italy and then joined the Greek forces revolting against the Turks. His death of fever in 1824 served as a rallying cry for the 1830 revolutions. This brilliant, handsome, charismatic psychological misfit exerted an inestimable impact on the Romantic movement and the sensibility of the entire nineteenth century.
This exciting collection represents a range of scholarly approaches and include close textual study, comparative readings, and broad cultural analysis. Contributors to this collection include Bernard Beatty, Peter Cochran, Marilyn Gaull, Charles E. Robinson, Andrew Stauffer, and Timothy Webb.
This collection of essays represents twenty-five years of work by a leading critic of Romanticism in general and Byron in particular. It demonstrates McGann's evolution as a scholar, editor, critic, theorist, and historian, and his engagement with the main schools of literary criticism since the advent of structuralism in the 1960s. Many of these essays have previously been available only in specialist scholarly journals. Now for the first time McGann's important and influential work on Byron can be appreciated by new generations of students and scholars.
Despite their religious and geographic differences, the British poet Lord Byron shared certain attitudes about politics, institutionalized religion, and individual identity that made him very popular with Jewish readers. In Byron and the Jews, author Sheila A. Spector investigates why, of all the British Romantic poets, Byron is the most frequently translated into Hebrew and Yiddish and how Jews used translations of Byron's works to help construct a new Jewish identity.
Spector begins by examining Byron's interaction with contemporary Jewish writers Isaac D'Israeli and Isaac Nathan and investigates how the writers translated each other. The following three chapters demonstrate how the Byron translations interrelated with intellectual leaders of the three cultural movements that dominated Jewish culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the Maskilim, the Yiddishists, and the Zionists. Spector's conclusion explores the theoretical inference implicit in this study--that the act of translation inevitably produces an allegorical reading of a text that may be contrary to an author's original intention.
A useful appendix contains transcriptions of many of the texts discussed in this volume, as few of these Hebrew and Yiddish translations are readily available elsewhere. Not only are portions of all of the translations represented, but different versions are included so that readers can see for themselves how Byron was adapted for different Jewish interpretive communities. Scholars of Byron, Jewish identity, and those interested in translation and reception studies will appreciate this insightful volume.
This contextual reading of Byron's epic poem argues that the importance of the Don Juan legend has been considerably underestimated. Focusing on such issues as seduction, class sexualities, and popular theatrical form, this book argues that the Don Juan legend is a vital context for understanding the poem's cultural and sexual politics. This study also critiques traditional myth-criticism and applies postmodern and feminist theories to its consideration of both Byron's poem and the legend itself.
This book is a thorough, eco-critical re-evaluation of Lord Byron (1789-1824), claiming him as one of the most important ecological poets in the British Romantic tradition. Using political ecology, post-humanist theory, new materialism, and ecological science, the book shows that Byron's major poems--Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, the metaphysical dramas, and Don Juan--are deeply engaged with developing a cultural ecology that could account for the co-creative synergies in human and natural systems, and ground an emancipatory ecopolitics and ecopoetics scaled to address globalized human threats to socio-environmental thriving in the post-Waterloo era. In counterpointing Byron's eco-cosmopolitanism to the localist dwelling praxis advocated by Romantic Lake poets, Byron's Nature seeks to enlarge our understanding of the extraordinary range, depth, and importance of Romanticism's inquiry into the meaning of nature and our ethical relation to it.
Jane Stabler presents this examination of Byron's poetic form in relationship to historical debates of his time. Responding to recent studies in the Romantic period, Stabler asserts that Byron's poetics developed in response to contemporary cultural history and his reception by the English reading public. Drawing on new research, she traces the complexity of the intertextual dialogues that run through his work.
Displaced to Italy by their politics and morals, Byron and Shelley wrote, between 1816 and 1823, a series of closet dramas that the author reveals as being deeply embedded in contemporary radical culture. Why did they write dramas in Italy that were to be published in England but not to be produced theatrically? Why do these dramas invoke and apparently oppose textual and theatrical versions of themselves? In answering these questions, this book addresses other questions about the historical invention of English literature, the relation between literature and drama, and the relation between literature and political culture. The plays are shown to acquiesce in, and yet also resist, subvert, and ironize by means of a parodic self-censorship, the political, theatrical, and ecclesiastical censorship of the post-Waterloo period. The author argues that they not only explore questions of political action in their plots but also reconstruct, by reconvening, a radical audience that had been virtually eliminated in England during the period of the counterrevolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Like the radical culture of the 1790's, Byron and Shelley's plays are informed by a "new" politics of language. Focusing on the discursive conditions of radical culture and the plays, and bringing the procedures of cultural materialism into contact with those of deconstruction, the author highlights the political and literary operation of the plays' language. In the process, he shows how the plays contributed to the recrudescence of a polite radicalism that sought to align itself with and establish control over its plebeian counterpart. Detailed discussion of individual plays--Manfred, Sardanapalus, Prometheus Unbound, Marino Faliero, Hellas, Cain, Heaven and Earth, The Two Foscari, and The Cenci--is supported by investigations into Romantic criticism of the drama, the dynamics of the reviewing journals, and the philosophical construct of the "closet" of reasoning and reading.