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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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‘Something sensible to grasp at’: Byron and Italian Catholicism

‘Something sensible to grasp at’: Byron and Italian Catholicism

(p.112) 6 ‘Something sensible to grasp at’: Byron and Italian Catholicism
Byron and Italy

Bernard Beatty

Manchester University Press

This chapter documents the evolution of Byron’s personal and poetic relationship with Catholicism from what was presumably his first real encounter with it at Newstead Abbey in 1798 through to the final cantos of Don Juan and the figure of Aurora Raby. Detailing and exploring Byron’s experience of Italian friars, priests, cardinal legates, a pope and, most importantly, Italian Catholic women, the chapter suggests that, in Catholic Italy, spiritually, Byron found ‘something sensible to grasp at’. Ranging across Byron’s poetic career, the chapter sees the poet begin as a John Knox in response to Catholicism but progressively become not only a thinker of theological precision but also a ‘sympathetic outsider’ and, indeed, even an insider to Italian Catholic experience.

Keywords:   Catholic culture, Catholic belief, Theology, Faith, Protestantism, Catholic sacraments, Catholic femininity

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