By Sarah Wootton
Byronic Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing and display model charts a brand new bankruptcy within the altering fortunes of a distinct cultural phenomenon. This booklet examines the afterlives of the Byronic hero throughout the paintings of nineteenth-century ladies writers and display diversifications in their fiction. it's a well timed reassessment of Byron's enduring legacy throughout the 19th century and past, targeting the charged and volatile literary dialogues among Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot and a Romantic icon whose presence takes centre level in fresh monitor diversifications in their such a lot celebrated novels. The extensive interdisciplinary lens hired during this ebook concentrates at the conflicted rewritings of Byron's poetry, his 'heroic' protagonists, and the cult of Byronism in nineteenth-century novels from delight and Prejudice to Middlemarch, and extends outwards to the reappearance of Byronic heroes on movie and in tv sequence during the last twenty years.
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Additional info for Byronic Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing and Screen Adaptation
III Austen was as prodigious a reader as Byron and her tastes were equally eclectic. Having proudly worked her way through her father’s library, Austen would have been familiar with many of the literary sources that shaped the Byronic hero. 28 Both authors draw on as well as rehabilitate the Regency rake for their respective anti-heroes, with even Wickham amounting to more than a commonplace scoundrel. A related figure that looms large in Byron’s poetry and underscores a complex intertextual dialogue in Austen’s Northanger Abbey is the Gothic villain, as will be discussed in Part IV.
Esther Lyon, the heroine of Felix Holt: The Radical, is disabused of the exotic fantasy of Byronic romance through the figure of Harold Transome as she is drawn to the righteousness of the eponymous hero. Harold Transome amounts to more than a show of faux Romanticism, however, and Felix Holt betrays flaws more usually associated with the anti-hero, resuming the ‘dual response of recognition and redefinition’ noted in the previous paragraph. It is in Eliot’s late major novels, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, that the Byronic hero comes of age and finally attains credibility in ‘serious’ Victorian literature.
The final chapters of this book, 4 and 5, focus on George Eliot’s complex and enduring regard for Byron. Her outrage at renewed speculation over the poet’s incestuous affair is often cited as indicative of a Victorian 28 Byronic Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing writer’s rejection of a Romantic writer’s moral turpitude. 89 Chapter 4 begins by examining Eliot’s fascination with Byronic individualism in the context of aesthetic concerns over the common man. How, I ask, can we reconcile the lure of Byronic hubris with a larger literary project of everyday altruism?