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Picture of Byron and the Best of Poets

Byron and the Best of Poets

Author(s): Nicholas Gayle

Book Description

Byron was a man of many passions, always fiercely held and defended, but his intense devotion to the poetry of Alexander Pope seemed to characterise a man standing a little to the left of the Romantic universe. While Pope largely left a taste of dust in the mouths of the Romantics, Byron continued to defend the “little Queen Anne’s man” in letters and in print as if he were arguing for the reputation of a lover; so much so that we are left to wonder, what kind of impression did the greatest poet of the eighteenth century leave upon the work of the seminal poet of the nineteenth? How far and in what way did Byron’s adoration of Pope imprint itself upon his own poetry in conscious and unconscious echoes, in parallels of thought and expression, in the unexpected, unlooked-for congruence? This book identifies and lays out the most significant strands of that influence, following them wherever they lead.

Through exploring both poets’ satirical portraits of men and women, their expression of love and forbidden passion, their various poetic techniques, the influence of the Roman poet Horace, and the dual resonance of Eden and paradise in their work, a picture emerges of Pope touching the deepest recesses of Byron’s poetic thought. Amongst the particular themes discussed here are the presence of women in the lives and poetry of both men, the disentangling of the sense of alienation and exile exhibited in their authorial psyches, the significance of the doppelgänger for their satire, and a weighing of the deep contrapuntal nature of Byron’s thought, contrasting it with Pope’s. Byron and the Best of Poets is the first major study of its kind to explore these multiple aspects and to unpack them in the work of both poets.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9536-1
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9536-9
Date of Publication: 01/09/2016
Pages / Size: 323 / A5
Price: £52.99


Nicholas Gayle was the Head of Classics at Exmouth Community College before becoming seduced by the poetry of Lord Byron, which resulted in a determination to become an independent scholar devoted to writing about the poet’s work. He is the author of four essays published over the last few years in The Byron Journal, and this is his first full length book on the poet.