The Byron Journal

'She Walks in Beauty' and the Theory of the Sublime

The Byron Journal (2010), 38, (1), 19–27.

Abstract

The argument of this paper is that Byron's early short lyric 'She Walks in Beauty' reflects in its first half aspects of the Burkean and Kantian theories of the sublime. In this respect, it differs from Byron's longer poems whose many references to the sublime are different in both source and character. The essay argues that the poem's second half, anchored firmly in the conventional lexicon of Romantic English lyric poetry, contrasts strikingly with the daring encounter with the sublime in its first half, so that the poem as a whole presents a contrast between poetry that conventionally evokes natural forces to praise human beauty and poetry that finds in the ambience of such beauty an echo of the supreme aesthetic experience of the sublime.

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Author details

Needler, Howard