Byron: A Poet Before His Public
This book is a major reappraisal of Byron's poetry, which grapples firmly with the paradox of his work - that in spite of his enormous influence, the magnetic power of his personality, and the fascination of his life, the poetry is often of inferior quality and so inconsistent in its attitudes that Byron's poetic seriousness is inevitably called into question. The focus of the book is the nature of Byron's relationship with his public and its effect on his poetry; a subject that has remained largely unexplored. Dr Martin considers Byron's anomalous position as an aristocrat in a literary market governed by commercial interests and middle class tastes and reading habits. He suggests that the whole of Byron's poetry can be seen as a performance determined by a number of factors: Byron's anxieties about his modernity, his contemporaries, and the image his readers were ready to fashion for him.
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