By Frances Wilson
This number of essays by means of top Byronists explores the improvement of the parable of Byron and the Byronic from the poet's self-representations to his a number of appearances in 19th- and twentieth-century literature and in drama, movie and portraiture. Byromania (as Annabella Milbanke named the frenzied response to Byron's poetry and character) seems to be on the phenomena of Byronism via a number of severe views, and it's designed to attract either an educational and a favored readership alike.
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Additional info for Byromania: Portraits of the Artist in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Culture
Lord Macaulay, Review of Thomas Moore's Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: with Notices of his Life (1830), Edinburgh Review, June 1831. Reprinted in Rutherford, p. 316. 22 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. Byromania Rutherford, p. 458. Samuel Chew, Byron in England (London: John Murray, 1924), p. 193. Byron, 'Reply to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine,' Byron's Letters and Journals, ed. Leslie Marchand (London: John Murray, 1973) vol.
To return to Lacan' s mirror of identity, whereas Byron's critics saw him looking upon his poetic reflection as undifferentiated 'self', he began to look at the product of his labour and see neither his ideal self mirrored back to him by his adoring fans, nor the fulfillment of his desires for literary fame. He saw only the evidence of his professional degradation brought about by industrialisation and the commodification of the poetic image. As Slavoj ZiZek insists, 46 Byromania identity and alienation are strictly correlative, 10 and thus, Byron could only come to terms with what it meant to be Byron-the-poet in the early 1800s through the disorientating misrecognition of himself reflected onto the larger historical picture of industrial commodification.
But while Byron may by the 1820s have begun to feel ill at ease with the critical discourse of celebrity that had been constructed about him, he had been only too happy to play with its possibilities in the early years of his fame. And it is the poet's professional journey, from his initial 'play' with and manipulation of his celebrity to his later rejection of it, that I turn to now.