The Byron Journal

Hero or Dandy? Gender Identity, Politics, and Dialogism in Byron’s Sardanapalus

The Byron Journal (2021), 49, (2), 135–152.

Abstract

Starting with an analysis of the mirror scene in Sardanapalus as a symbolically dense representation of a series of crucial issues in Byron’s works, this article examines the ways in which the play was used by the author to challenge and interrogate two of his stereotypical, widely accepted public images, ‘Byron as a Byronic hero’ and ‘Byron as an effeminate dandy’, by proposing an alternative figure that combines traits from both stereotypes. Issues of effeminacy, masculinity, and homosexuality will be discussed in relation to dialogism and politics, linking Byron’s multifaceted drama to wider aesthetic, performative and political concerns.

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Author details

POOLE, GABRIELE