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Byron and Marginality

Edited by Norbert Lennartz

eBook (ePub) i

Explores Byron as the figurehead of Romanticism and the writer of provocatively 'marginal' texts

This book approaches Byron from a completely new angle: no longer seen in terms of his status as a celebrity and a star on the book-selling market, Byron is instead seen as an outsider both in Regency society and, even more so, for his iconoclastic views of life and literature. Pilgrims in pursuit of non-existing shrines, women as man-eating giants and viragos, cannibalism, suicide, black humour and other provocatively border-crossing topics leave scholars hopelessly at a loss as to where they should categorise Byron and what they should do with his penchant for marginal themes, genres and characters. Byron caters to numerous Romantic clichés (weltschmerz, melancholy, subjectivity), while simultaneously reverting to genres, themes and motifs that cast him as a pre- or even anti-Romantic. This collection will trigger new debates in Byron scholarship and show that terms such as canonicity and marginality tend to be blurry and stand in constant need of re-negotiation.

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I. Introduction: Lord Byron – Wandering and Wavering between the Centres and Margins of Romanticism: An Attempt at an Introduction, Norbert Lennartz (Vechta)
II. Byron’s Marginalisation in Romantic World Literature
1. Byron and Weltliteratur, Nicholas Halmi (Oxford)
2. Reshaping the Romantic Canon from the Margins: The Medial Construction of ‘Byron’ in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Ralf Haekel (Göttingen)
3. Byron and Romantic-Period Neoclassicism Rolf Lessenich (Bonn)
III. Byron’s Marginal Identities and Places
4. ‘When a man talks of system, his case is hopeless:’ Byron at the Margins of Romantic Counterculture, Friederike Wolfrum (Innsbruck)
5. At the Margins of Europe: Byron’s East Revisited: The Giaour, Stephen Minta (York)
6. Literary Forefathers: Byron’s Marginalia in Isaac D’Israeli’s Literary Character of Men of Genius, Jonathan Gross (Chicago)
IV. Cherishing the Marginal – Marginal Genres in Byron
7. ‘Like a Flash of Inspiration:’ Byron’s Marginalised Lyricism in Hebrew Melodies, Michael O’Neill (Durham)
8. Out of Romanticism: Byron and Romance, Anna Camilleri (Oxford)
9. The Margins of Genius: Byron, Nationalism, and the Periodical Reviews, Josefina Tuominen-Pope (Zürich)
V. On the Provocative Margins of Taste
10. ‘Stand not on that brink!̕ Byron, Gender and Romantic Suicide, Caroline Franklin (Swansea)
11. Byron and the Good Death, Tom Mole (Edinburgh)
12. At the Margins of Romanticism: The Women of Don Juan’s English Cantos, Drummond Bone (Oxford)
VI. Marginal Affairs – Visual and Paratextual
13. A Marginal Interest? Byron and the Fine Arts, Richard Lansdown (Groningen)
13. ‘I ask his pardon for a postscript:’ Byron’s Epistolary Afterthoughts, Jonathon Shears (Keele)
VII. List of Contributors

About the Author

Norbert Lennartz is Full Professor of English Literature at the University of Vechta, in Germany. He specialises in 19th-century British literature and culture, and is particularly interested in Lord Byron, Charles Dickens’s dark novels and Byronic reverberations in late Victorian and Modernist literature.


Literary studies often focus either on centrality or on what lies beyond, as if demarcation between cohesion and disparity were a thin line with no space of its own. Surveying centres and margins in Byron’s work, Norbert Lennartz introduces his collection of fifteen critical explorations into the wide margins: geographical, historical, cultural and moral.

- Frederick Burwick, University of California