Byron is rarely thought of as a spiritual writer. However, as this bold new collection shows, this is the result of an impoverished notion of the ‘spiritual’ and a reflection of biased priorities in Romantic studies. Reflecting on the poet’s claim that ‘immaterialism’s a serious matter’, this interdisciplinary collection of essays, from British and American scholars, calls into question the prevailing ‘materialist’ consensus, and offers a fresh and theoretically inflected reading of Byron’s poetry. Byron’s Ghosts is the first book-length examination of spectrality in Byron’s work. It is on the one hand concerned with what Mary Shelley in her essay ‘On Ghosts’ refers to as ‘the true old-fashioned, foretelling, flitting, gliding ghost’, though it is also a postmodern response to the ‘spectral turn’ in critical theory, which brings into view a range of phantom effects and ‘non-Gothic’ spectres. Focusing attention on these diverse modalities of the ghostly, the specially assembled essays complicate the popular image of Byron as a sceptical or ‘anti-Romantic’ poet and reveal a great deal about his work that could not be uncovered in any other way.
This is a strong collection of essays on an excellent, and original, topic. Byron's Ghosts manifestly enhances and modifies our understanding of Byron.