Dark Seriousness and a conversation at Kyiv Airport – how this new book came about
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
The book came about through a conversation in the early hours at Kyiv Airport between David Woodhouse and myself. We were on our way to a Byron conference in Armenia and had time to fill waiting for the plane.
David is long-standing friend and a well-informed Byron scholar, he suggested that I should publish a book based on the many essays that I have written published in various places which would be called Mainly Byron
David kindly offered to edit the book and we began work on it. But soon this made me think of a new book idea - wholly on Byron with five new essays on Byron’s poetry as its centre together with some essays, some already published, on his life and political ideas.
Liverpool University Press liked this idea and David was prepared to edit it. As with many books on Byron it is adversarial in that it begins from thinking that Byron is treated superficially as though he is easy meat. Not enough attention is given in popular and academic thought to what I would call his dark seriousness. I am trying to correct this as hard as I can.
It was not difficult to write in the first instance because it came out of long-pondered thoughts but David read the text very carefully and, as a result, I rewrote large sections of it. Wherever David said that it wasn’t clear. I showed it to others too and revised again. I have never ever taken so much trouble over the wording and structuring of sentences and chapters. I shall always be grateful for David's meticulous assistance.
Above - Kyiv Airport, where the book idea began
Literary studies: poetry and poets
1714–1837 (Georgian period)
history of ideas