Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Byron Society of America Session: 'Byron and the Revolutionary Spirit' 28 December 2009 Modern Language Association Conference Philadelphia

Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Byron Society of America Session: 'Byron and the Revolutionary Spirit' 28 December 2009 Modern Language Association Conference Philadelphia

Article excerpt

At the 2009 Modern Language Association conference in Philadelphia, Paul Douglass (San Jose State) presided over the conference's first Byron Society of America session, entitled 'Byron and the Revolutionary Spirit'. The session was particularly wellattended, drawing a standing-room-only crowd. Charles Mahoney (Connecticut) spoke first on 'Promethean Innovation: Byron's Lyrics to Augusta'. This paper offered a bold new reading of the Augusta poems of 1816-17 as marked by Promethean imagery of fidelity, bondage and endurance, suggesting Augusta's role as the catalyst for a new stage in Byron's poetic career. This period has often been recognised as a creative watershed for Byron, but Mahoney advanced this line of thought by showing the centrality of the poet's imaginings of Augusta to the changes it brought about. Madeleine Callaghan (Durham) then delivered an excellent paper that challenged the conventional opposition of Byron and the Lake School poets, suggesting, via Hazlitt, that Byron shared many poetic preoccupations with Wordsworth, among them the power of memory to construct the self and the relationship of imaginative work to fame. Next, Timothy Webb (Bristol), the winner of this year's Keats-Shelley Association Distinguished Scholar award, spoke on 'Byron and Irish Nationalism', offering a subtle and revealing reading of Byron's allusions to the Irish question, particularly in his Whiggish parliamentary speech on Catholic claims and in a note on the founding of the college at Maynooth. …

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