Sprung From Divine Insanity: The Harmonious Madness of Byron, Keats and Shelley by Andrew Keanie

Byron, Keats and Shelley wrote some of the most expressive and incisive poetry we have known, but they were held in contempt by placemen and pundits. The poets saw the dominating social and political conditions of modern times making a ghost of the good life.

In Andrew Keanie’s exploration of the legacy of the later Romantics, we see the full challenge posed by Byron, Keats and Shelley to the rigid and life-denying orthodoxies underpinning an unjust world where words are bled to powerlessness and looked straight through by tyrants and their messengers as easily as non-existent ghosts.

The poets’ work was nothing less than an inspiring refusal to accept the prevailing wrongness of their world. Rather than being ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ themselves, the Romantics were pressurised into poetry by the madness, badness and dangerousness of the world in which they found themselves. It is a legacy, Andrew Keanie vividly demonstrates, which resonates down to the present day.

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Byron and the Sea-Green Isle by Nicky Gayle

This study of Byron’s last complete long poem, the comparatively neglected The Island, is the first to devote a whole book to the examination, contextualization and motivation of both the poetry and its poet. It is much more than just a monograph, however; aside from biographical considerations, it illumines aspects of study that embrace feminism, racial politics and social considerations in relation to Polynesian island society, all of which are contrasted with the loose anarchy of an eighteenth century group of British mutineers.

Two historical contexts – the infamous 1789 mutiny on the Bounty and Byron’s life in the year that led up to the poem’s composition – serve as an extended prelude to a deep analysis of the major symbols and characters in the poem.

Its main chapters range beyond The Island, conducting a literary conversation with Shakespeare, Pope, 18th-century writers of memoirs and nautical sea history, classical authors and even Chinese poets, as well as other Romantic poets. Consideration is given to aspects of racial and feminist theory in relation to the poem’s extraordinary central female character; in particular there is a focus on her promotion of the poem’s happy ending, one that is quite unique in Byron’s oeuvre.

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Return of the Gift, poems by Michael O’Neill

Michael O’Neill’s Return of the Gift is a volume about what is given and what is lost.

Writing unsentimentally and with insight about powerful subjects such as the death of his mother, caring for his father, and his own recent diagnosis of cancer, the poet speaks of and to his personal and historical life and also explores themes of elegy and friendship. Memories are woven vividly throughout a thematically varied yet coherent collection, in which a witty and moving pleasure in living and language is always to the fore.

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Essays on Byron in Honour of Dr Peter Cochran, Breaking the Mould, edited by Malcolm Kelsall, Peter Graham, & Mirka Horová

Byron wrote that he was “born for opposition”. This collection of essays takes Byron at his word and explores ways in which he challenged received opinion in his lifetime. The essays also challenge commonplace attitudes in criticism of Byron today. In this, the volume honours the remarkable range of work of the late Dr Peter Cochran.

The matters covered here are Byron’s poetics, his ideology, and the principles and practice of editing his texts. In all, this book gathers original contributions from sixteen international scholars and friends of Peter Cochran.

The accessible, engaging style makes their work suitable for all readers of Byron, as well as undergraduates and professional academics.

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Byron and Italy, edited by Alan Rawes & Diego Saglia

Byron in Italy – Venetian debauchery, Roman sight-seeing, revolution, horse-riding and swimming, sword-brandishing and pistol-shooting, the poet’s ‘last attachment’ – forms part of the fabric of Romantic mythology. Yet Byron’s time in Italy was crucial to his development as a writer, to Italy’s sense of itself as a nation, to Europe’s perceptions of national identity and to the evolution of Romanticism across Europe. In this volume, Byron scholars from Britain, Europe and beyond re-assess the topic of ‘Byron and Italy’ in all its richness and complexity. They consider Byron’s relationship to Italian literature, people, geography, art, religion and politics, and discuss his navigations between British and Italian identities.

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