Byron and the Forms of Thought is a major new study of Byron as a poet and thinker. While informed by recent work on Byron’s philosophical contexts, the book questions attempts to describe Byron as a philosopher of a particular kind. It approaches Byron, rather, as a writer fascinated by the different ways of thinking philosophy and poetry are taken to represent. After an Introduction that explores Byron’s reception as a thinker, the book moves to a new reading of Byron’s scepticism, arguing for a close proximity, in Byron’s thought, between epistemology and poetics. This is explored through readings of Byron’s efforts both as a philosophical poet and writer of critical prose. The conclusions reached form the basis of an extended reading of Don Juan as a critical narrative that investigates connections between visionary and political consciousness. What emerges is a deeply thoughtful poet intrigued and exercised by the possibilities of literary form. An Open Access edition of this work is available on the OAPEN Library.
Anthony Howe’s study is well-written (if occasionally gnomic) and full of insights, combining a strong awareness of Byron’s various intellectual engagements with consistently persuasive interpretations of the poetry.
The BARS Review, No. 44, Autumn
Howe’s work represents a promising turn in Byron studies. As we seek to explain and justify the role of literary studies and single-author studies in particular, texts like this one come to our aid... One can hope that the conversations Howe begins in this book – on text, form, language, and politics – come to dominate Byron studies in the coming years.
Howe's Byron and the Forms of Thought is illuminating as well as inspiring,readers looking for fresh insights into Byron’s poetry and verse dramas will not be disappointed.
Susan Oliver, European Romantic Review
‘Sophisticated thinking and impressive and
valuable readings … Howe makes an appeal for a return to a type of close
reading that is worth listening to.’