Byron was born in the year that The Times came into existence (1788), and he was an avid reader of the oratory that commanded unprecedented space in the early 19th-century newspapers. He was also the first popular writer in these new historical circumstances to have trained for and begun a career in parliament, and thus provides a valuable starting-point. This chapter examines his engagements with Whig, Tory, and radical oratory in his speeches and poetry, and ends by looking in detail at the biggest-selling literary work of the Romantic period, Don Juan (1818-24).
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