In her study of the relationship between Byron’s lifelong interest in historical matters and the development of history as a discipline, Carla Pomarè focuses on drama (the Venetian plays, The Deformed Transformed), verse narrative (The Siege of Corinth, Mazeppa) and dramatic monologue (The Prophecy of Dante), calling attention to their interaction with historiographical and pseudo-historiographical texts ranging from monographs to dictionaries, collections of apophthegms, autobiographies and prophecies. This variety of discourses, Pomarè suggests, not only served as a source of the historical information Byron cherished, providing the subject matter for countless episodes in his works, but also and primarily supplied him with epistemological models. From them, Byron drew such trademark textual practices as his massive use of notes and paratexts, which satisfied his ingrained need for ’authenticity’ - a sentiment expressed in his oft-quoted, ’I hate things all fiction’. As Pomarè argues, Byron’s meticulous tracing of the process that links events, documents and historical representations ultimately answers his desire to retrieve what might be lost during the transmission of historical knowledge. Thus does he betray his preoccupation with the ideological uses of history writing, projecting his own discourses of history into the present of their composition.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Byron in the ’historical department’; Byron’s paratexts and the legacy of Pierre Bayle’s Dictionnaire; Marino Faliero and The Two Foscari: rewriting the myth of Venice; History as auto/biography: The Deformed Transformed and Benvenuto Cellini’s Vita; The Prophecy of Dante and Byron’s ’telescoping’ of history; Bibliography; Index.
Carla Pomarè is Associate Professor of English Literature at UniversitÃ del Piemonte Orientale, Italy.
’A clearly envisioned and cogently articulated study that will have strong appeal for audiences interested in Byron, in the relationship of the English Romantics to Italian literature, politics, and culture, or in historiography.’ Peter Graham, Virginia Tech University, USA 'Byron and the Discourses of History is a truly valuable addition to the trend in Byron studies... it is full of sophisticated, thorough, and thoughtful discussion. Byron might have scratched his head had he foreseen this kind of interest taken in his work; but I think he would have been profoundly gratified too.' The Wordsworth Circle ’...a conscientious study that should prove of considerable interest to students and readers interested in Byron, Italian Romanticism, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century historiography.’ BARS Bulletin ’Pomare`’s wonderful book has many virtues and deserves to be read by anyone with a serious interest in Byron...’ Review of English Studies '... Pomarè presents a refreshingly lively theoretical analysis of Byron's historical reading, showing how deeply and cleverly the poet not only read his sources, but how he was also continually alive to the unstable presence of the past.' Keats-Shelley Journal