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By Jane Stabler

Jane Stabler offers this exam of Byron's poetic shape in courting to old debates of his time. Responding to fresh stories within the Romantic interval, Stabler asserts that Byron's poetics built based on modern cultural historical past and his reception through the English studying public. Drawing on new examine, she lines the complexity of the intertextual dialogues that run via his paintings.

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Cohen’s tactile ‘drenched & scorched’ metaphor emphasises that, like other readers, he was responding to a surface texture, not to metaphysical depths. There have been several studies of the reception of Don Juan in England but the obsessive critical preoccupation with the poem’s surface texture and its relationship with Byron’s earlier poems has been overshadowed by the poem’s content. A few early reviewers felt that the satiric strain of the poem licensed its heterogeneous mixture. One writer for the Literary Gazette applauded the ‘singularly felicitous mixture of burlesque and pathos’, and used a Shakespearean image to characterise Byron’s genius: ‘like the dolphin sporting in its native waves, however grotesque, displaying a new hue and a new beauty, the noble author has shewn an absolute controul over his means’ (RR, B: , pp.

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. –). In the course of Byron’s poetic career, Jeffrey’s very precise use of the idea of perversion was overlaid by the more generalised apprehension of moral depravity – a process which continued throughout the nineteenth century.  By re-examining the first responses to Byron’s poetry, we can recover the textually de-familiarising effects of digression and the ways in which it brought to a crisis the relationship between poet and reader in early nineteenth-century Britain.

Upon all kinds of frivolous subjects, – a sort of gay and desultory babbling’ Discourses of digression among Byron’s readers  (RR, B: , p. ). Don Juan, however, extended fickle caprice into harlotry and the concept of the prostituted muse led to criticism of the increasing ‘infection’ of the poem (RR, B: , p. ). What prompted this violent dislike was the fear that Don Juan could nihilistically undermine all political and philosophical positions. The radical publisher William Hone protested about the ‘character’ of the poem, claiming in  that Don Juan ‘keeps no terms with even the common feelings of civilized man .

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