The Byron Journal

Nostalgia in Byron and Burns

The Byron Journal (2011), 39, (2), 97–105.

Abstract

Taking Georg Philipp Schmidt von Lübeck's definitive characterisation of European Romantic Nostalgia in 'Der Wanderer' as its starting point, this essay discusses Burns's and Byron's poetic treatment of this particular state of mind. It argues that the poets share an understanding of the richness of nostalgia, even if both have flirtations with sentimentality. They also share certain devices when writing about nostalgia, sometimes used well and rarely but sometimes badly. And for neither is it enough to say, with Schmidt von Lübeck, that 'Happiness is where you are not'. Neither poet would say 'it is the hour', but Byron can pause to notice that it is the 'sweet hour of twilight [...] soft hour', while Burns can suggest we take a 'right gude willie-waught, for auld lang syne'.

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Author details

Bone, Drummond