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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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This ‘still exhaustless mine’: de Staël, Goethe and Byron’s Roman lyricism

This ‘still exhaustless mine’: de Staël, Goethe and Byron’s Roman lyricism

(p.166) 9 This ‘still exhaustless mine’: de Staël, Goethe and Byron’s Roman lyricism
Byron and Italy

Alan Rawes

Manchester University Press

This chapter addresses Byron’s Italian lyric mode by focusing on Childe Harold IV’s description of the Palatine as an exemplary instance of sustained poetic attentiveness. It places this description alongside the accounts of the Palatine in Goethe’s Italienische Reise and de Staël’s Corinne, ou l’Italie. Comparing these three fundamental texts for the Romantic reinvention of Italy, the chapter draws out their very different ways of responding to Rome. In doing so, it contrasts the fictional and autobiographical works of de Staël and Goethe, which appropriate the ruins of Rome for their own needs and purposes, and Childe Harold IV,which offers an attentive responsiveness to Roman ruins per se. Whereas Goethe seeks an education in Rome, and de Staël finds consolation, Byron, in his poetic exploration of the Palatine, crafts an entirely original lyric mode and persona that are expressive of a heightened attention to the suggestions of Rome. The ‘eternal city’ thus becomes an ‘exhaustless mine’ (CHP, IV, 108, 128) of experiences that hosts of later tourists would then come to explore, relish and revel in.

Keywords:   Byron’s Lyric Art, Childe Harold IV, Madame de Staël, Goethe, Tourism, Ruins, Rome, Place

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