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By Byron, George Gordon Byron; Modrzewska, Miroslawa; Byron, George Gordon Byron

Byron’s mannerist digressive type and his ‘theatricality’ are a mode of literary and cultural discourse in keeping with the options of irony, paradox and reflectivity that have been practised in seventeenth-century literature and tradition. This leads to the discursive break up within the poetic language, which prefers to discuss the heavenly and the divine by means of connection with deformity and monstrosity. it truly is marked in a Romantic demeanour through the presence of the lyrical character with a deep awareness of earlier literary texts in accordance with the philosophy of this sort of discourse, within which voices are echoed opposed to one another. If we settle for the Baroque, and seventeenth-century literature and tradition, as assets of Byron’s literary discussion with cultural culture, we may possibly stop to understand the author as an writer suspended among jointly unique interpretational platforms, both because the liberal satirist or because the grandiose gothic seducer

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Extra resources for Byron and the Baroque

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Between 1559 and 1561 Jasper Heywood (1535-98) […] published English translations of Seneca’s Troas, Thyestes, and Hercules Furens. His enterprise was matched in the mid-1560s by workmanlike English versions of four further tragedies, all by young graduates determined to demonstrate that the art of the heathen Seneca could provide Christian England with a lesson in moral gravity, and, equally importantly, with a salutary example of dramatic decorum. His plays were seen as model structures, suggesting the serene workings out of divine justice and revealing the effects of human vengeance; they dwelt on the vicissitudes of earthly fortune and they traced the tragic falls of men of high degree; above all, they expressed pithy moral sentiments with an exaggeratedly rhetorical flourish (2004: 108).

Byron’s unsettling mixture of digressions serves to create a style which was ‘perceived as a ‘threat to established social hierarchies’ (24) and as deliberate ambiguity: ‘doubt is dangerous’ (26). It is a style which aims at an expression of ‘madness’ (26), as ‘deformity’ – the ‘unnatural’ – was perceived as political liberalism and an expression of ‘Byron’s role as an oppositional Whig’ (27). In other words, the purpose of such language and such composition was the rhetoric of liberal political persuasion.

First used in English drama by Thomas Rhymer, it also appears in John Dryden’s considerations on drama, where it is understood as a means of instruction and exemplification of a higher moral order in the fictional world of the drama (Jones and Nicol 107). This type of dramatic discourse presupposed a certain authoritarian treatment of the spectator/reader and a certain collective consensus concerning the moral harmony in the presented world of seventeenth-century drama (Jones and Nicol 8). 55 In his discussion of Baroque sensibility, Vovelle writes about the dramatization of death introduced by Caravaggio’s painting, the theme of ecstasy and necrophiliac voyeurism expressed in visual effects and in the artist’s predilection for morbid cruelty, which was later imitated in literature and theatre.

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