George Gordon, Lord Byron Poetry: British Analysis
The history of the poetic development of Lord Byron intersects at every stage with the saga of his life; yet it is only one of many paradoxes that he valued the writing of poetry primarily for the opportunity it afforded him to escape what he termed “my own wretched identity.” More than anything else, poetry for Byron was a means both of sublimation and, ultimately, of self-realization. In his letters he thus suggests the former function when he speaks of poetry as “the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake,” the volcanic metaphor signifying the cathartic release that the process of writing afforded him. The precise way in which it fulfilled the second function, however, is less obvious. Through the dynamics of self-projection, of investing much of his own multifaceted character in his personae, Byron strives to transcend the narrow limits of “personality” and achieve a more comprehensive perspective on himself and his experience. The essential goal of this artistic quest, which constitutes a progressive ontology, is delineated in canto 3 of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “’Tis to create, and in creating live/ A being more intense.” To trace Byron’s growth as a poet, therefore, is to witness him reaching beyond subjectivism and attempting to realize that intensity of being that comes about through the continuous act of self-creation.
Hours of Idleness
Any account of Byron’s...
(The entire section is 5203 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of George Gordon, Lord Byron Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!