Lord Byron’s impact on nineteenth century European and American culture, both as a personal cultural figure and as a poet and satirist, cannot be exaggerated. Stylistically and formally, his work is more diverse than that of his fellow Romantics. Byron’s curious and perhaps confusing blend of idealism and cynicism accounts in part for critical reluctance to assign to him the same label of Romantic as easily as to Wordsworth or Shelley. Yet in his idealistic, steadfast determination to pursue truth, to strip away the surface to expose cant, hypocrisy, and oppression, Byron was at once a reflection of his culture and an iconoclast.
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