Byron: A Poet Before His Public

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Cambridge University Press, 1982 M07 8 - 253 pages
This book is a major reappraisal of Byron's poetry, which grapples firmly with the paradox of his work - that in spite of his enormous influence, the magnetic power of his personality, and the fascination of his life, the poetry is often of inferior quality and so inconsistent in its attitudes that Byron's poetic seriousness is inevitably called into question. The focus of the book is the nature of Byron's relationship with his public and its effect on his poetry; a subject that has remained largely unexplored. Dr Martin considers Byron's anomalous position as an aristocrat in a literary market governed by commercial interests and middle class tastes and reading habits. He suggests that the whole of Byron's poetry can be seen as a performance determined by a number of factors: Byron's anxieties about his modernity, his contemporaries, and the image his readers were ready to fashion for him.
 

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Contents

Experiment in Childe Harold I II
9
the Turkish Tales
30
Childe Harold
64
Childe Harold IV
97
Manfred
107
the three historical tragedies
135
Cain the reviewers and Byrons new form of old
148
Don Juan
173
Notes
220
Bibliography
238
Index
249
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