The Byron Journal

‘The Controlless Core of Human Hearts’: Writing the Self in Byron's Don Juan

The Byron Journal (2014), 42, (2), 123–132.


This article examines Byron's sense of self through his mercurial relationship with history, verse form and the imagination. Drawing mainly on close readings of Don Juan, it links his bathetic and idealistic impulses to his own vocal uncertainties. In tracing these impulses in Byron's more elegiac modes the essay argues for a revised understanding of Byronic illusion: one alert to the written nature of the poet's voice, to its complex commitments to history and fiction, and to its need to elegise the self in voices associated with the speaking poet.

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Author details

(Michael J. Sullivan), Michael J. Plygawko