The Byron Journal

‘I Have Thought / Too Long and Darkly’: Writing and Reading Modes of Being in Byron

The Byron Journal (2020), 48, (2), 133–144.

Abstract

Byron’s treatment of subjective modes of being are characterised by a poetic mobility that permits competing and contradictory perspectives of the self to coalesce. Starting with Michael O’Neill’s sense of fixity and fluidity as a marker of Byronic identity, this article examines Byron’s darker poetics of madness that permit a glimpse into the destructive and transformative elements of selfhood. In Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Beppo, Venice emerges as the imaginative site of Byron’s self-aware artistry and psychodrama of self. Elsewhere Byron’s poetics of selfhood are read as inextricably bound to deliberate self-conscious acts of writing and reading that both dread and delight in the fictionality of self, memory, and history.1

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Author details

Sandy, Mark