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Byron’s Othered Self and Voice

Contextualizing the Homographic Signature


Abigail F. Keegan

By analyzing the English Romantic Era’s masculine gender norms as a set of contrasts between a heterosexual «norm» and a sodomitic «other», this book isolates four tropes that distinguish the sodomite: criminality, silence, effeminacy, and foreignness. These tropes are then traced through Byron’s early poetry, the first two cantos of Childe Harold and the popular Oriental tales, demonstrating the ways the Byronic persona and the Byronic hero are deeply indebted to the conflicted sites of homosexual meaning in the Romantic age. Discussions of legal and literary cases, as well as attention to the political implications of heterosexuality as an ideal created to serve a (re)productive ideology of empire, make this study of interest not only to Romantic scholars, but also to scholars of gender theory, history, and postcolonial studies.