Lord Byron and Madame de Staël: Born for Opposition

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The British poet Lord Byron and the French writer Madame de Staël both made a great impact on a Europe in the throes of the Napoleonic Wars - through their personalities, the versions of themselves projected in their works, and their literary engagement with contemporary life. However, the strong links between them have never been explored in detail. This pioneering study looks at the two writers' personal relations, from their verbal sparring in Regency social life, through the friendship which developed in Switzerland after Byron left Britain in 1816, to Byron's tributes to Madame de Staël after her death. It concentrates on their literary links, both direct responses to each other's works, and copious evidence of shared concerns. Topics covered include the writers' treatment of gender, their grappling with the possibilities for 'heroic' endeavour, their engagement with the contrasting social and political situations in Britain, France and Italy, and their conception of the writer's role.

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