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The Domestication of GeniusBiography and the Romantic Poet$
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Julian North

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571987

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571987.001.0001

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The Lives of Byron

The Lives of Byron

(p.58) 3 The Lives of Byron
The Domestication of Genius

Julian North (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the question of how literary biography produced and was, in turn, produced by ‘Byron’ and Byronism, taking account of the full range of earlier nineteenth‐century Lives of the poet and focusing especially on Thomas Moore's Letters and Journals of Lord Byron (1830). It looks at how these texts constructed the relationship between genius, domestic life and the reader. It discusses Murray's biographical marketing of Byron; the changes in the perception of biography that followed the Separation controversy and the death of Byron; the transgressive potential of Byron biography; the theme of the incompatibility between masculine genius and domestic life; the critical reputation of Byron as a poet who betrayed his promise of an intimate relationship with his readers; the various techniques by which his biographers restored this promise; and the construction of Byron by his female biographers including Lady Blessington, the Countess Guiccioli, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Keywords:   Byron, biography, Thomas Moore, masculine genius, domestic life

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