Byron and Orientalism
Editor: Peter Cochran
Date Of Publication: Jul 2006
Of all the English Romantic poets Byron is often thought of as the one who was most familiar with the East. His travels, it is claimed, give him a huge advantage with which contemporaries like Southey, Moore, Shelley, and Coleridge, who had comparable orientalist ambitions, could not compete.
Byron and Orientalism sets out to examine this thesis. It looks at Byron’s knowledge of the East, and of its religions in particular, in greater detail than ever before. Essays are included on Byron’s Turkish Tales, Edward Said’s attitude to Byron, Byron’s version of Islam, Byron’s Hebrew Melodies, and Byron’s influence on the orientalist writings of Pushkin and Lermontov. There is a massive introduction, setting Byron’s eastern poetry in the contexts both of European literature, English literature, and the poet’s own confused and disorientated existence.
'This is an extremely valuable - impressively diverse and genuinely multidisciplinary - collection of essays, which will be of great interest to a variety of audiences. The topic of Byron and Orientalism offers similarly rich potential and Peter Cochran brings a great wealth of expertise to bear on the subject in his substantial contributions to this volume.' James Watt, Liverpool University Press.
Dr Peter Cochran is the editor of the Newstead Byron Society Review. He has lectured on Byron in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Newstead, Glasgow, Liverpool, Versailles, Monckton, Gdansk, Salzburg, Yerevan and New York, and published numerous articles on the poet. He is author of the Byron entry in the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, and of the entries on J.C.Hobhouse and E.J.Trelawny for the new DNB. In 2005 he received the Elma Dangerfield award for his edition of Mihael Rees's translation of Teresa Guiccioli's Lord Byron's Life in Italy.
"If one of the strengths of the collection is that essays such as these enrich our understanding of the cultural phoenomenon of Romantic Orientalism, another is the way in which many of the volume's contributors emphasise that intercultural contact is a necessarily a two-way affair, where the distribution of agency is far from straightforward and the consequences are often unpredictable ... All told, this is an extremely valuable - impressively diverse and genuinely multidisciplinary - collection of essays, which will be of great interested to a variety of audiences ... The topic of 'Byron and Orientalism' offers similarly rich potential, and Peter Cochran brings a great wealth of experience to bear on the subject in his substantial contributions to this new volume. Cochran's 150-page introduction covers an enormous amount of ground, and provides an impressively learned account of relevant historical and literary-historical contexts, as well as a rich fund of information concerning Byroninc sources, allusions and intertexts. ...Byron and Orietalism contains much to reward the attention of Byron scholars."
-James Watt, The Byron Journal
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