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BOOK REVIEW: The high stakes of reading and of writing about Byron


Many thanks to Madeleine Callaghan, Senior Lecturer of Romantic Literature at the University of Sheffield, for her review19 write up.


"Bernard Beatty wants us to read Byron's work. Perhaps this sounds like an obvious goal for a specialist in any author. But Beatty is onto something with Byron. For Byron is all too often patronized, caricatured, and turned into a sloganeer known more by reputation than by reading. Beatty's monograph, which is the fruit of decades of reading, teaching, and writing about Byron, aims to counteract this critical tendency. The book's opening gambit reminds us of the high stakes of reading and of writing about Byron: "[t]here is no single way of reading Byron, though there are wrong ways." To read Byron, Beatty insists, "is to be prepared to open both mind and heart. That is the proper responsibility of the reader" (xvi). The admirable aspiration of Beatty's book is to help us rise to this responsibility by learning how to read Byron all over again."




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