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The Cambridge Introduction to Byron


  • 1 b/w illus. 1 map 3 tables
  • Page extent: 192 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.31 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521128735)

Available, despatch within 1-2 weeks

$16.99 (P)

Author of the most influential long poem of its era (Childe Harold's Pilgrimage) and the funniest long poem in European literature (Don Juan), Lord Byron was also the literary superstar of Romanticism, whose effect on nineteenth-century writers, artists, musicians and politicians – but also everyday readers – was second to none. His poems seduced and scandalized readers, and his life and legend were correspondingly magnetic, given added force by his early death in the Greek War of Independence. This introduction compresses his extraordinary life to manageable proportions and gives readers a firm set of contexts in the politics, warfare, and Romantic ideology of Byron's era. It offers a guide to the main themes in his wide-ranging oeuvre, from the early poems that made him famous (and infamous) overnight, to his narrative tales, dramas and the comic epic left incomplete at his death.


Preface; 1. Life; 2. Context; 3. The letters and journals; 4. The Poet as pilgrim; 5. The Orient and the outcast; 6. Four philosophical tales; 7. Histories and mysteries; 8. Don Juan; 9. Afterword; Further reading; Index.


"… this book achieves much … Viewing Byron not just as the creator of select canonical works, Lansdown gives us a multi-faceted account of him. He offers a helpful and responsible survey of Byronic terrain, including the nuances and debates surrounding the 'legend-maker' and the extent to which he inspired talented writers, painters, musicians, thinkers, and politicians around the world … this concise primer offers a comprehensive roadmap for students, beginning Byron scholars, and lecturers. The book thoroughly explains the life of this celebrity writer alongside his major works of poetry and prose."
Review 19 (

"Richard Lansdown’s sharp, lively introduction to Byron ‘compresses his extraordinary life to manageable proportions’ … offering concise accounts of key contexts as well as works."
The Keats-Shelley Review

"Lansdown is just the sort of fair- but sharp-minded critic one needs in an introduction like this. He provides a great deal of information, and clearly knows the scholarly field, but does not allow his story to be dragged into a swamp of academic debate."
The Year's Work in English Studies

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