Byron Society Talk, 18th February

6.30-8.00pm, at the Art Workers Guild, London

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In this talk, Professor Jason Whittaker looks at William Blake’s response to Byron’s Cain.  

Following its publication in 1821, Byron’s Cain was subject to a series of scathing attacks from those, such as Francis Jeffrey, who wrote in the Edinburgh Review that it was a scandalous attack on piety. Yet, despite (or perhaps because of) the role of Lucifer in the play as well as Byron’s association with a so-called Satanic school, one Christian writer who was not perplexed by Byron’s blasphemous work was the artist William Blake.

In 1822, Blake wrote a response to Byron’s play, a short one-act drama entitled The Ghost of Abel in which he compared the more famous poet to Elijah and sought to offer a correction not to Byron’s purported Satanism but rather his proto-Calvinism. This paper will explore the contexts for Blake’s response to Byron, how he recognised in the younger writer a poetic rebellion against what Blake identified as the Moral Law without a corresponding understanding of a fundamentally humanistic Everlasting Gospel.



Art Workers Guild

6 Queen Square


London WC1N 3AT



Drinks at 6.30

Lecture 7.00-8.00pm

There will be a dinner for those who wish to join, details will be confirmed closer to the time.


Tickets must be purchased.

Click here to purchase tickets.


Image taken from Blake's "Ghost of Abel", held by the Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division