Book review: Peter Cochran, Byron's Romantic Politics: The Problem of Metahistory

Gardner, John (2014) Book review: Peter Cochran, Byron's Romantic Politics: The Problem of Metahistory. Notes and Queries, 61 (2). pp. 311-313. ISSN 1471-6941

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PETER COCHRAN’s Byron’s Romantic Politics: The Problem of Metahistory is one of eighteen books that he has written on George Gordon, Lord Byron. The others with titles such as: Byron and Orientalism, Byron at the Theatre, The Gothic Byron, Byron and Bob: Lord Byron’s Relationship with Robert Southey, Byron and Women, Byron and Italy, and Aspects of Byron’s Don Juan, attest to Cochran probably being the most prolific, and most knowledgeable, Byron scholar alive. Cochran’s Byron is unprincipled, crude, crass, unreliable, and utterly selfish. Savingly though, he is a true poet and the funniest that the language has produced—if you get the humour. For Cochran, Byron has written three outstanding works: Beppo, The Vision of Judgement and Don Juan. Cochran targets the self-serving nature of criticism in the academic world and the timidity of critics. He writes: ‘A large part of the interest of studying Byron lies in untangling his lies from his truths, his distortions of history from his games with history. We do neither ourselves nor history any service if we read all his statements as Gibbonian, and if we are so polite, awestruck and gullible that we don’t dare to call his bluffs’ (207). This is not a ‘polite, awestruck’ work and punches are followed through.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Book review, Literature
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:55
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:16

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