The Byron Journal

‘In a Manner that Is My Aversion’: Byron’s Objections to Romantic Blank Verse

The Byron Journal (2016), 44, (1), 1–14.

Abstract

Byron’s professed hostility toward the growing popularity of the long blank verse poem embodies his deep investment in a poetry of dynamic structure at the same time that it exposes his fear of a poetic disinheritance. While he expressed genuine admiration for Paradise Lost, Byron repeatedly belittled his contemporaries’ attempts to replicate Milton in nature and in scope by emphasising both the diffusiveness of their verse and their unwieldy departure from an important classical tradition. In these extravagant public objections to the extended blank verse revival from the late-eighteenth century onwards, Byron establishes his own unique ‘romantic ideology’, one that fittingly combines his esteem for the sublime power of Milton’s strong syntax with his fear of a canonical rupture that undermined the formal elegance of Pope and Johnson.

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Author details

Sourgen, Gavin