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By Jane Stabler

Jane Stabler provides this exam of Byron's poetic shape in dating to ancient debates of his time. Responding to contemporary reports within the Romantic interval, Stabler asserts that Byron's poetics built according to modern cultural background and his reception by means of the English examining public. Drawing on new examine, she lines the complexity of the intertextual dialogues that run via his paintings.

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Extra resources for Byron, Poetics and History

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In the course of Byron’s poetic career, Jeffrey’s very precise use of the idea of perversion was overlaid by the more generalised apprehension of moral depravity – a process which continued throughout the nineteenth century.  By re-examining the first responses to Byron’s poetry, we can recover the textually de-familiarising effects of digression and the ways in which it brought to a crisis the relationship between poet and reader in early nineteenth-century Britain. The rest of this chapter focuses on the cultural significance of digression in the period between the appearance of the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage () and the last complete cantos of Don Juan ().

Similarly, the author of Whistlecraft was commended for ‘uniting great playfulness with poetical dignity’: We hope that he will be induced to continue this style in chastening and correcting the extravagant fancies of Pulci and the romantic poets. The acumen and acquirements of the man of letters, and the originality of the poet, will undoubtedly enable him to mellow and harmonize the materials which he derives from these writers, and perhaps to create a style which, while retaining the blithesomeness and ease of his models, will become completely English, and be truly naturalized by English wit and English feeling.

In the end, however, Byron’s writing resists the totalising discourse of any one theoretical model. It is difficult above all to relate Byron’s poetics to models which take no account of the formal properties of poetry. Although Byronic texts challenge the law of genre (as early nineteenth-century reactions to his poetry show), they are energised conceptually and practically by strict adherence to verse structure and resist the disintegration of formal difference which comes with novelisation. Rhyme cannot be endlessly deferred, and poetic form and genre still stand as recognisable, historical presences to which we respond, albeit less violently than Byron and his contemporaries.

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