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Byron’s romantic philhellenism



Byron’s romantic philhellenism

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25 September 2021


Byron’s philhellenic verse and romantic involvement in the Greek Revolution inspired a host of poets and artists in Europe and across the Atlantic. His death in Messolongi on 19 April 1824 appears to have been an especially great force in raising sympathy for the revolution and stimulating young philhellenes to join the Greek fighting. But the leading English Romantic poet of the time was often ambiguous about the subject of Greece. Recent biographies of Byron and modern interpretations of his venture have duly turned their attention to this debatable issue, providing various frames of reference for reading Byron’s decision to join the Greek struggle. This lecture discusses the changing aspects of Byron’s philhellenism as they were acted out in his lifetime and expressed through his poetic production: from the Romantic Hellenism of Childe Harold’s lines and the Eastern Tales, to the grounded scepticism about Greece’s political future found in his prose and letters, to his life-changing decision to translate his thoughts into actions, “words” into “things”, by joining the Greek uprising and committing himself to a people’s war of national liberation.

(Edited description of the event from the organiser’s website)

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This event is co-sponsored by the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center; SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, Simon Fraser University; and the Embassy of Greece in the USA.

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