“Byron and the Sickness of the Age”, by Stephen Minta

Byron Society Lecture, 6th March


Book now: contact@thebyronsociety.com

[ezcol_1half][/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Ticket Prices:

£5.00 for Members

£6.00 for Students

£7.00 for non-members

Dinner: £22-£25 per head[/ezcol_1half_end]

Dr Stephen Minta, University of York, will discuss Byron in relation to the wider political context of his age, exploring the ways in which the maladie du siècle hints at both the challenges and the limitations for the poet and for some of his poetic personae.

In April 1802, the French Romantic writer François-René de Chateaubriand published a work called Génie du christianisme (Genius of Christianity). The second edition, published a year later, was dedicated to Napoleon. One chapter of the book is entitled ‘On the vagueness of the passions’. It was an attempt to explore an attitude of mind that Chateaubriand believed he was the first to analyse in a coherent way–though he was aware that its origins lay deep in the eighteenth century, and possibly earlier. Later in the nineteenth century, this state of mind came to be called the ‘mal du siècle’ (‘the sickness of the age’). It was a term that embraced a wide range of feelings: moral suffering, melancholia, world-weariness, a condition of aimless and unsatisfied longing. It was also, at various moments and for various individuals, a fashionable pose that suggested, implicitly or explicitly, a commentary on the age.

This lecture will look at the chronology of the mal du siècle, and the value of the term as a way of thinking about Byron’s work before he took the great turn towards Don Juan. Stephen will talk in particular about Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and the Giaour.

More details will follow closer to the event regarding the dinner.




Art Workers Guild

6 Queen Square


London WC1N 3AT

See Map [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third]


Drinks at 6.30

Lecture 7.00-8.00pm

Supper will be at our regular haunt of The Old Amalfi, 107 Southampton Row.[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third_end]


£5.00 for Members

£6.00 for Students

£7.00 for Non-Members

Dinner: £22-25 per head[/ezcol_1third_end]

Please email contact@thebyronsociety.com if you wish to attend or have any questions. Please also specify whether you would like to join us for dinner when booking your place for the lecture. 

Image: Caspar David Friedrich - The Abbey in the Oakwood (1809-1810)  Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur, object 02531364