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Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.001.0001

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‘A Being More Intense’: Byron

‘A Being More Intense’: Byron

Chapter:
(p.93) 4 ‘A Being More Intense’: Byron
Source:
Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem
Author(s):

Michael O'Neill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.003.0004

This chapter discusses performative intensity in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan. Of the former poem it is argued that the text frequently persuades us we are in touch with the self that wishes to die to itself and end up as text. Don Juan is read — for all its anti-illusionism and hostility to Romantic pretension — as ultimately upholding the claims of poetry as a mode of knowing, or not knowing. Byron's comic epic sends demystifiers of poetry packing through a challenging, aesthetically seductive combination of relentless self-consciousness and linguistic inventiveness.

Keywords:   Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Don Juan, Byron, self-consciousness, performative intensity

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