In this study, Alan Rawes examines the evolution of Byron's poetry from Childe Harold I and II through to the composition of Beppo. Beginning with a close reading of the sustained poetic experimentation that constitutes Childe Harold I and II, he charts the progress of that experimentation in the Tales where Byron's poetry gets entrenched in a tragic idiom. Rawes then describes Byron's prolonged struggle to break clear of the imaginative limitations imposed by that tragic idiom and to break into a sustainable comic mode: a struggle that drives Childe Harold III, The Prisoner of Chillon, and The Dream only to culminate in success in Childe Harold IV. It is here, as Rawes demonstrates, that the path forward into the comic mode of Beppo and Don Juan is discovered. Byron's Poetic Experimentation also offers a substantial reconsideration of Byron's shifting attitude towards Wordsworthian idealism and a detailed analysis of the structured eclecticism of Manfred.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; ’Mixed in one mighty scene with varied beauty glow’; ’The frame of things disjoint’; ’A narrow escape into faith’; ’Tears and tortures, and the touch of joy’; ’To increase our power increasing thine’; A ’more beloved existence’; Bibliography; Index.
’...a thoughtful and intelligent study.’ The Byron Journal '... the theme of Byron's oedipal struggle with and transcendence of Wordsworth's influence is (...) a fascinating and worthwhile lens with which to scrutinize the poet's early career. Throughout the readings of individual poems are detailed and thought-provoking, and make a case for reassessing the traditional view of Byron's verse as always in contrast with canonical British Romanticism.' Notes and Queries '... a sharp and intelligent study of Byron's experimentation which begins by reminding the reader, correctly, that Byron's versatility makes him a far more ambitious poet then most, and, further, that he is a more impressive poet than is commonly acknowledged.' The Year's Work in English Studies