Byron: The Poetry of Politics and the Politics of Poetry

Thanasis Gavos   Monday, 3 October 2016; 5:30-7:30pm
Byron, King's College,

Book launch

Edited by Roderick Beaton and Christine Kenyon Jones, based on a selection of papers given at the 39th International Byron Conference in 2013 (volume 18 in the series Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London), with the editors, Lord (Robin) Byron and Dr Alan Rawes (University of Manchester) [part of the Modern Greek Studies seminar series]

About the Book

‘It is no great matter, supposing that Italy could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed. It is a grand object – the very poetry of politics. Only think – a free Italy!!! Why, there has been nothing like it since the days of Augustus.’ So wrote Lord Byron in his journal, in February 1821, only days before the outbreak of revolution in Greece, where three years later he would die in the service of the revolutionary cause. For a poet whose life and work are interlaced with action of multiple sorts, surprisingly little attention has been devoted to Byron’s engagement with issues of politics. This volume brings together the work of eminent Byronists from seven European countries and the USA to re-assess the evidence. What did Byron mean by the ‘poetry of politics’? Was he, in any sense, a ‘political animal’? Can his final, fateful involvement in Greece be understood as the culmination of earlier, more deeply rooted quests? The first part of the book examines the implications of reading and writing as themselves political acts; the second interrogates the politics inherent or implied in Byron’s poems and plays; the third follows the trajectory of his political engagement (or non-engagement), from his abortive early career in the British House of Lords, via the Peninsular War in Spain to his involvement in revolutionary politics abroad.

Council Room, King’s Building

About Thanasis Gavos

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