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Title: Poetry and action in Byron's development
Author: Nicholson, John Andrew Lamont
ISNI:       0000 0001 3446 176X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1983
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This thesis concerns the conflict between Byron the poet and Byron the man of action in so far as such a study illuminates the poetry. The aim has been to trace this conflict as it developed in Byron's work, in terms of a discourse between what he himself regarded as the spectator role of the poet and the participatory role of the man of action. The study therefore concentrates on those poems and materials that illustrate the tension between the poet and the man, and reflect Byron's movement from poetry to action. The first chapter outlines the argument of the subsequent discussion and provides certain relevant biographical details as a background to it. Hence we move from Byron's early poetic expressions of his desire for fame and action, through his critical observations on poetry and action, his parliamentary schemes and his attitude towards Napoleon, to his engagement in the Italian uprising and, finally, to his active commitment to the Greek War of Independence. Bach succeeding chapter seeks to formulate more cogently the principal issues that arise in this first chapter. Chapter 2 discusses Byron's interest and performance in the House of Lords. His speeches, which have met with little critical scrutiny, are considered both as pieces of oratory and as an effort by Byron to engage seriously and actively with English politics. The third chapter analyses Byron's attitude towards Napoleon as the archetype of the contemporary man of action. In particular, a sustained critique is offered of the ode to Napoleon Buonaparte and the Napoleon poems of 1815, since none of these has received due critical attention. Chapter 4 studies closely three crucial texts The Prisoner of Chi lion. The Lament of Tasso and The Prophecy of Dante. These are considered as a sequence, as an extended meditation on the theme of mental imprisonment, in order to reflect Byron's coming to terms with himself and his emergence from poetry to action. The final chapter continues this profession, resuming a polarity sketched in the first chapter between the world of poetry and the world of action. The aim here has been to re-iterate the tension between the poet and the man, in order to secure more forcefully the argument that the poem 'On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year', of which a new MS reading makes a material difference to its interpretation, is a poem of choice, the poetic endorsement of Byron's commitment to action. Marchand's complete edition of Byron' s Letters and Journals has been used throughout, as have, wherever possible, the first three volumes of McCann's new edition of The Complete Poetical Works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature