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Scopophilia and Somatic Inscription in Byron’s Verse Tales

  • Tom Mole
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Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print book series (PERCP)

Abstract

After Childe Harold’s dazzling success, all eyes were on Byron. The upper echelons of Regency society welcomed him into their drawing rooms and showered him with invitations to balls and dinners, not to mention trysts and assignations. Byron now faced the challenge of consolidating his position in the Romantic celebrity culture that he was helping to create, sustaining the attention he had attracted and proving that his fame was more than a flash in the pan. Between them, Byron and Murray needed to turn the remarkable singularity of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage into a sequence providing a reliable income for the publisher and fuel for the poet’s fame.

Keywords

Regency Society Fragment Form Narrative Information Past Crime Close Observer 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    Most recent criticism of Byron’s verse tales has set them in the context of British domestic or imperial politics. See, for example, Daniel P. Watkins, Social Relations in Byron’s Eastern Tales (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987)Google Scholar
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  12. 9.
    ‘Communication in literature, then, is a process set in motion and regulated, not by a given code, but by a mutually restrictive and magnifying interaction between the explicit and the implicit, between revelation and concealment. What is concealed spurs the reader into action, but this action is also controlled by what is revealed; the explicit in its turn is transformed when the implicit has been brought to light. Whenever the reader bridges the gaps, communication begins.’ Wolfgang Iser, ‘Interaction Between Text and Reader’, in Readers and Reading, ed. Andrew Bennett (London: Longman, 1995), pp. 20–31 (p. 24).Google Scholar
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  27. 32.
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  28. 33.
    William Stark, The Works of the late William Stark […] with experiments, dietetical and statical (London, 1788)Google Scholar
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  30. 34.
    Criticism on Byron and food includes Christine Kenyon Jones, ‘ “Man Is a Carnivorous Production”: Byron and the Anthropology of Food’, Prism(s): Essays in Romanticism, 6 (1998), 41–58Google Scholar
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  35. Tom Mole, ‘ “Nourished by that Abstinence”: Consumption and Control in The Corsair’, Romanticism, 12, no. 1 (2006), 26–34.Google Scholar
  36. 35.
    By 1810, there had been 16 German, 15 French, 2 American, 2 Russian, 1 Dutch, and 20 English editions. See Ellis Shookman, ‘Pseudo-Science, Social Fad, Literary Wonder: Johann Caspar Lavater and the Art of Physiognomy’, in The Faces of Physiognomy: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Johann Caspar Lavater, ed. Ellis Shookman (Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1993), pp. 1–24 (p. 2). Graeme Tytler provides an analysis of Lavater’s impact, which aims to make us ‘conscious of the historicity of physical character description in English fiction after 1789’.Google Scholar
  37. Graeme Tytler, ‘Lavater and Physiognomy in English Fiction 1790–1832’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 7, no. 3 (1995), 293–310 (p. 307).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 37.
    William Wordsworth, The Thirteen-Book Prelude, 2 vols, The Cornell Wordsworth, gen. ed. Stephen Parrish, ed. Mark L. Reed (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 12. 161–8.Google Scholar

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© Tom Mole 2007

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