Cover image for Byron : a literary life
Byron : a literary life
Franklin, Caroline.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxv, 209 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PR4381 .F7 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is the first biography of Byron to focus on the poet as a professional writer and the circumstances of literary production of his major poems. It shows how Byron related his writing to a perceived readership in his experimentation with genre and style; and negotiated with his publishers in establishing the bounds of his challenge to political, sexual, and religious conventions. His aristocratic status enabled him to combine the face-saving appearance of insouciant dilettantism with a writing practice as dedicatedly professional as that of novelists like Scott and Dickens.

Author Notes

Caroline Franklin is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Swansea

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Here is a rarity among contemporary literary studies, a work of scholarship that both delights and instructs; is clearly and vigorously written; and can be read with profit by almost anyone with a genuine interest in literature. Byron's life was so filled with scandal and passionate controversy that it is easy to forget he was a hardworking writer. Author of Byron's Heroines (CH, Apr'93) and editor of the six-volume British Romantic Poets (1998), Franklin (Univ. of Wales) concentrates on Byron as a practicing poet and playwright. Rigorously avoiding the temptation to wallow in the sensational and often sordid details of his life, she fills the purely biographical passages with concentrated, useful information. Her discussion of Byron's achievement as a playwright, which is often neglected, alters one's sense of his career. Franklin's knowledge of the London publishing scene--including sales, profits, piracy, and censorship--is minute and illuminating, as is her control of the complex political and historical background. A model of what scholarly writing should be, this brief book is highly recommended for all academic and public collections. N. Fruman; emeritus, University of Minnesota

Table of Contents

Preface and Suggestions for Further Readingp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiv
List of Abbreviationsp. xv
Chronologyp. xvi
Prelude: Byron's Gothic Inheritancep. 1
1. The Noble Poet and 'the Trade': Juvenilia and Juvenaliap. 8
2. The Traveller from the East meets the 'Emperor of the West': Byron and Murrayp. 37
3. The Acting of Tragedy and the Tragedy of Acting: Byron, Drury Lane Theatre and Romantic Dramap. 61
4. From Pilgrim to Patriot: Byron as Poet of Exilep. 88
5. The Bookseller to the Admiralty and the Board of Longitude Beset by Pirates: Byron, Don Juan and the Freedom of the Pressp. 122
6. The Eagle, the Wren and the Snake: Byron and The Liberalp. 152
Postscriptp. 177
Notesp. 185
Indexp. 198