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EnglishPart of Humanities

Burns and Byron in love

Published: 22 March 2011

A lecture by Professor Brean Hammond, University of Nottingham, considers Byron as a star of the Scottish, rather than English, literary firmament.

In his lecture, Brean makes the argument that Byron has a legitimate claim to being considered a star of the Scottish, rather than the English, literary firmament. An aspect of this is his admiration of Burns, who was in various ways influential over his writing.

Notoriously, Burns and Byron share a disregard for the moral law. This got them into very considerable trouble in their own times. This lecture argues that the flak that both poets took from their contemporary and near-contemporary readers raises uncomfortable issues that refuse to go away. Recent criticism has tried to paper over some of the cracks, but how successfully?

Through an analysis of two of their most popular and enduring lyric poems, Brean considers what it might mean to read the two poets 'ethically'.

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