Crossing ‘Dark Barriers’: Byron, Europe and the Near East in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos 1 and 2

  • Susan Oliver


Throughout the two previous chapters, I discussed how Scott used antiquarianism, historiography and various sources of local knowledge to construct representations of clan-feudal and baronial societies on the Scottish/English Borders and the Scottish Highland margins. I have sought to show why his engagement with encounters along and across borders should be considered as arising out of a political, intellectual and social world deeply interested in European and British Old Romance literature,1 as well as Scottish Ballad traditions and folk-myth. In the present chapter I want to consider Byron’s engagement with, and descriptions of, two quite different border regions in a manner that evaluates the significance of the constant references and allusions he makes to Scott. Before commencing my closer analyses, I shall compare some of the more important contexts, literary methodologies and generic frameworks within which these poets were writing, in order to consider the manner in which Byron, like Scott, adapted and politicized poetic form.


Ionian Island Cultural Encounter Romance Literature Travel Account Travel Writing 
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© Susan Oliver 2005

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  • Susan Oliver

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