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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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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Playing with history: Byron’s Italian dramas

Playing with history: Byron’s Italian dramas

(p.188) 10 Playing with history: Byron’s Italian dramas
Byron and Italy

Mirka Horová

Manchester University Press

This chapter concentrates on Byron’s dramatic representations of Italian history – Marino Faliero, The Two Foscari and The Deformed Transformed. It demonstrates the extent to which ‘play’ – in its performative and sportive, but also competitive and manipulative senses – underpins Byron’s dramatic rendering of Italy in these works. It also highlights how these works combine the carnivalesque and the grotesque to paint a profoundly disturbing picture of Italy’s past. Indeed, Byron’s Italian dramas use Italian history to reflect on the ways in which European historical progress more generally, and the humanising role of art in that progress, repeatedly, endlessly and inevitably descend into sheer violence. As this chapter contends, Byron’s Italian dramas set up a distinctive, coherent and relentless reading of Italian history through particular episodes of it, a reading that places his ideas about the nature of, and the forces ruling, Italian history, but also history more generally, centre-stage.

Keywords:   Byron’s Dramatic Art, Marino Faliero, The Two Foscari, The Deformed Transformed, Italian History, Revolution, Tyranny, Progress, Carnival, Play theory

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