Annual Scotland Lecture 2024

Start Date & Time 22/07/2024 6:30 pm

Location Kelvin Gallery, Gilbert Scott Building, University of Glasgow

Speakers Dr Jane Stabler and Dr Gavin Hopps


6.00-7.00 drinks reception

7.00-8.00 lecture

Registration here.

Byron’s Don Juan is one of the greatest poems in the English language. Byron’s friends initially agreed that ‘it will be impossible to publish this’. Byron prevailed, however, and the first two cantos were issued anonymously after much editorial revision. Even in its revised form, Don Juan was perceived as a radical attack on establishment values; the poem has remained a beacon for freedom of speech and retains its power to shock. Since it was published in 1819– 24, all printed editions of the poem have used the text prepared by Byron’s publishers, John Murray and John Hunt. This talk discusses the challenges of preparing the first new text of the poem to be printed in two hundred years. The Longman edition (forthcoming 2024) is based on a line-by-line analysis of the manuscripts by Dr Gavin Hopps and Jane Stabler. A re-annotation of the work shows where Byron left open the choice of words or rhymes and demonstrates the extraordinary breadth and depth of his literary allusions, topical and cultural references, and socially coded jokes. The result of this research is a new understanding of Don Juan’s place in the literary, scientific, political, and social life of the early nineteenth century.

This event will be preceded by a daytrip to visit the home of Robert Burns, Ellisland Farm & Museum, during which we will take a tour of the museum and enjoy a special Dram & Bannock activity (Scotch whisky tasting). If you would like to join us on the daytrip, see our main events page for the event details.