May. 19th, 2009

Byron

May. 19th, 2009 08:59 am
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Reading: Byron: The Flawed Angel by Phyllis Grosskurth.

Grosskurth's biography, like Benita Eisler's, which I read perhaps a decade ago, doesn't actually make me like Byron very much. I suppose I'm a little *cough* mature now to be enthralled by the Byronic hero, but Byron himself doesn't live up to that standard. Mostly, he seems spoiled and bipolar. Plus he's the least interesting of the Romantics as a poet.

Mostly, he is interesting as "This first modern celebrity" (271). Also, worth looking at his Romantic Orientalism.

V. pretty when his weight was down. Thoroughly bisexual. Very promiscuous. A sort of less sunny, more talented, more petulant Capt. Jack Harkness.

I used to imagine Byron/Augusta incest as v. romantic & tragic, but Augusta sounds not v. bright; perhaps obvs. that because she looked a good deal like him he projected onto her. Ada grows up to become interesting figure. Annoyed at him that he sought out Shelley for intellectual conversation but not Mary, whom Shelley always treated as an equal.

To read: excerpts from Childe Harold and Don Juan in the Longman's anthology. The Giaour in Three Oriental Tales. Byron and the Victorians -- interesting to see how his more judgmental successors approached him.

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