Terryl Givens


I will suggest that had the history of Christian metaphysics taken a different course than the one it did, it is likely that Byron's considerable objections to religion would have been diminished by at least one. About the particulars of Christian theology, he had little to say, his writings suggest a general discomfort with particular aspects of Christian metaphysics as they had developed by the nineteenth century.

An analysis of Byron's metaphysical/religious misgivings might serve to clarify the nature of his discontent, clearly showing that his particular "heresy" is radically distinct from others of the "Satanic school." It might also show that the type of linguistic mystification Byron disliked arose from the same complex of institutionalized notions and cultural constructs that produced the religious cant and poetic discourse typical of superficial Romanticism.

I will confine myself to an introductory excursion into the second, more general of these issues. Later scholars may wish to examine the problem in its fuller, historical, theological, and poetic dimensions, or compare Byron's position with his "Satanic" cohorts. I wish merely to set the groundwork for a future and more complete study of Byron's fractious engagement with the world of poetic discourse and the religious cosmology he inherited.

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Copyright © 2000, American Conference on Romanticism. This article first appeared in Prism(s): Essays in Romanticism 8:1 (2000), 29-47.

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