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Description - Lord Byron at Harrow School by Paul Elledge

How did Byron become "Byron"? In this work, the author locates one origin of the poet's personae in the dramatic recitations young Byron performed at Harrow School. The study explores the four critically formative years of Byron's public school experience, 1801 to 1805, when Harrow enjoyed high subscription and fame under Dr. Joseph Drury, Headmaster. Finding its genesis in the boy's intrepid appearance on three Speech Day programmes, the book argues that Byron's early performances addressed anxieties, conflicts, rivalries and ambitions that were instrumental in shaping the poet's character, career and verse. Paul Elledge carefully examines the historical and biographical contexts to Byron's Harrow performances, showing their relevance to Byron's physical and psychic landscapes at the time - his connections to his mother and half-sister, his headmasters and tutors, his Harrow intimates and rivals, his lameness, his London theatrical spectatorship. Byron's performances in the characters of King Latinus from the "Aeneid", Zanga the Moor from Edward Young's "The Revenge", and King Lear provide an opportunity to examine his early experiments with self-presentation: as Elledge argues, these performances are "auditions or trials of performative and autotherapeutic strategies, subsequently refined and polished in the mature verse." Throughout the text, Elledge reads the boy for the sake of reading the poet; he shows how young Byron's introduction to theatricality at Harrow School prepared him to make a confident and spectacular debut on Europe's cultural stage.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801863431
ISBN-10: 0801863430
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 23-May-2000
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Paul Elledge

Paul Elledge is a professor of English and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Byron and the Dynamics of Metaphor.