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Byron and Italy$
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Alan Rawes and Diego Saglia

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100559

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100559.001.0001

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The literature of Italy in Byron’s poems of 1817–20

The literature of Italy in Byron’s poems of 1817–20

(p.23) 1 The literature of Italy in Byron’s poems of 1817–20
Byron and Italy

Nicholas Halmi

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses on Byron’s The Lament of Tasso and The Prophecy of Dante alongside his translations of Filicaja in the fourth canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Pulci’s Morgante Maggiore. It begins by exploring the ways in which Byron ‘exploited both the writings and the figures of Italian writers (especially the exiled Dante and imprisoned Tasso) to construct his own cosmopolitan poetic identity’, reinventing himself as simultaneously – and ambiguously – an English and an Italian poet. In the translation of Pulci, however, Byron stresses his foreignness to both British and Italian poetic traditions, cutting a cosmopolitan figure not through identity but difference. While in his letters – and, of course, many of his poems – Byron is both British and Italian, Italian literature could also offer the poet a way of being neither.

Keywords:   The Lament of Tasso, The Prophecy of Dante, Morgante Maggiore, Italian Literature, Translation, Cosmopolitanism, appropriation, Britishness/Italianness

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