Dark Imaginings

Ideology and Darkness in the Poetry of Lord Byron

by Geoff Payne (Author)
©2008 Monographs 278 Pages


What does it mean to say that poetry is dark? How does the presence of darkness give meaning to literary works? Such questions sit at the centre of this study of Lord Byron, a man who has been characterised as intrinsically dark by generations of scholars. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive survey of Byron’s darkness, producing new and innovative readings of his poetry by exploring how darkness (both literal and figurative) helps to structure his work’s ideological topography and facilitates the exchange of ideas between its different ideological systems. Canvassing a variety of issues relevant to a number of different manifestations of darkness, the study explores such diverse topics as the relationship between sublime aesthetics and the gendering of desire, the connection between darkness and Byron’s Scottish nationalism and the influence of blackness on his engagement with the Orient. With such a broad focus in mind, it also engages with texts that represent Byron’s oeuvre in its broadest sense, engaging not only with canonical texts such as Manfred and Don Juan, but also selections from Byron’s juvenilia, the Oriental Tales and his letters and journals, as well as surveying the critical reviews that helped to influence the colour of his work and its later reception.


ISBN (Softcover)
English Romaticism Byron, George Gordon Byron Dunkelheit (Motiv) Bisexuality Racial politics Gameplay Narcissism
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 278 pp.

Biographical notes

Geoff Payne (Author)

The Author: Geoff Payne was born in Sydney, New South Wales, and educated at Macquarie University, where he received his Ph.D. in English Literature. He currently teaches in the English Department at Macquarie, covering such topics as myth in the English Renaissance and the shifting modes of social, political and literary thought in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. He is currently completing a study of the influence of law on literary representations of incest in post-Enlightenment literature.


Title: Dark Imaginings