‘He Describes What He Sees’: Byron’s Letters from Italy

Howe, Anthony (2017) ‘He Describes What He Sees’: Byron’s Letters from Italy. The Keats-Shelley Review, 31 (1). pp. 66-73. ISSN 0952-4142

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Beginning with Keats’s influential snipe at Byron, ‘He describes what he sees – I describe what I imagine’, this essay examines Byron’s ways of seeing as a writer, specifically in his letters from Italy. What emerges is a complex sense of place respecting which any simple distinction between real and imagined cannot hold. For Byron, Italy is to a striking extent a product of its successive imaginings through history. This leaves him sceptical about any authority assumed through the traveller’s experience of place, and thus potentially at odds with his own privileging of being ‘on the spot’. It places him, also, in an ambivalent relation to descriptive writing, which he repeatedly withholds as a correspondent.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/09524142.2017.1297090
9 May 2017Published Online
9 February 2017Accepted
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Yanyan Wang
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2018 10:41
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5650

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