This essay is concerned with a common feature of Byron's and Burns's writings – the
carnivalesque. It focuses particularly on, in Burns's case, the close links between the
carnivalesque and utopia and, in Byron's case, the carnivalesque as a foundation for
the performativity of literary texts. It argues that Burns's interest in the carnivalesque
results in the performative reconstitution of society as a collective grotesque body, while
Byron's interest in the carnivalesque pushes the deconstructive potential of Bakhtinian
'heteroglossia' towards a new understanding of literariness as freedom from personality.