Byron: Reality, Fiction and Madness

Edited by Mirosława Modrzewska and Maria Fengler

 Series: Transatlantic Studies in British and North American Culture-Peter Lang

ISBN: 978-3-631-80537-4


This book explores the amorphous, fragmented and digressive world of George Gordon Byron’s poetic works, which are pervaded by the themes of change, mutability, deformation and transgression, often presented or described as madness. The blurring of the border between fiction and reality is a matter of the author’s decisions concerning both his life and his texts, and a conscious process of construction and self-fashioning. It is also a recurring epistemological theme in Byron’s works, which make take the form of narrative dis-orientation and the dismantling of easy cultural pre-conceptions. The Authors study Byron’s artistic quixotism and his pursuit of creative freedom which reveals itself in the Romantic irony, digressiveness and self-awareness of his writings.

 More Information:

Dear Byronists, dear friends,

You participated in the International Byron Conference these last years or were in touch with me for any other reason related to Byron. I had the privilege to present my research about "Byron at the keyboard" (Tbilisi, 2014); the Byron concert at the Institut Hongrois in Paris, during the 2016 Byron conference; my further research in Mazeppa set to music (Yerevan, 2017), and Byron's influence on music writing (Ravenna, 2018).

The July 2016 concert was welcomed with such an enthusiasm and earned the musicians such a success that I decided to extend its reach by organising a studio recording of the programme and by writing substantial presentation notes about the composers and their works.

Byron’s Don Juan 200: A Bicentennial Symposium will be held on Friday, October 18 at 14 East Jackson Blvd (DePaul’s Daley building); rooms include 14E-805 and 806.

On Saturday, October 19, the conference convenes at the Chicago History Museum, on North and Clark.

Romanticists all over the world will be dismayed to learn that Rolf Peter Lessenich passed away suddenly in early February 2019.

Although he was approaching 80, he was still an indefatigable and prolific writer on a wide range of comparative literature, from the Classical tradition of Dryden and Pope to Romanticism and late Victorian decadence.

His well-meaning, erudite and ever-supportive voice will be sorely missed by his students, colleagues, friends and all those who had the privilege of being taught by him. And even if “poetry makes nothing happen,” as Auden was to write in his lament for Yeats’s death, Rolf Lessenich’s lectures, essays and books about literature have amply contributed to the knowledge, education and happiness of his ever-grateful students and friends.

Attached please find Norbert Lennartz's obituary.

The IABS is sad to announce the passing of a renowned poet, critic and Shelley scholar Michael O’Neill, who helped lead the International Association of Byron Societies for many years.

In addition to serving as chair of the Elma Dangerfield Prize for many years, Michael helped organize meetings for the IABS in London, Tbilisi, Beirut, Athens/Messolonghi, and, most recently, Paris, where he chaired sessions and gave a typically moving and inspirational lecture.

Michael had the ability to bring people together. His exchanges with Bernard Beatty and Timothy Webb in Paris stand out in my mind, as do his comments on transatlantic travel, and his spontaneous recitation of scraps of poetry in Parisian cafes. After one session in Paris, Michael quoted a line from John Berryman, then another from Percy Shelley, relishing their gifts with the authority and appreciation of a poet.