London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Jane Stabler, Online Seminar, Friday 16 April 2021

The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place via Zoom on Friday 16 April 2021 at 17.30-19.30 London time (GMT+1). As our distinguished guest speaker, we are delighted to welcome Professor Jane Stabler of the University of St Andrews, who will present a paper entitled Down and Our in Paris and London: The Unseen, the Unsaid, and the Unsayable in Byron’s Manuscripts. This will be followed by a discussion in which questions from the audience are invited. The seminar will be chaired by David Duff (Queen Mary, University of London).

The seminar is free and open to everyone. Prior registration is necessary. To book a place via the Institute of English Studies website, click here and scroll down to the relevant seminar. When you register, you will be sent a confirmation email containing a Zoom link and details of how to join the online forum. If you do not immediately receive this confirmation email, please check your Junk folder; if you have still not received it, contact IESEvents@sas.ac.uk. Whether you wish to contribute or simply to listen in, we invite you to join us for this exciting seminar.

Jane Stabler is Professor of Romantic Literature at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Among her many publications are Byron, Poetics and History (2002) and The Artistry of Exile: Romantic and Victorian Writers in Italy (2013). She is currently working with Dr Gavin Hopps on The Complete Poems of Lord Byron for the Longman Annotated English Poets edition (Don Juan forthcoming, once the libraries re-open). 

Regarding the subject of her talk, Jane writes:

‘Somewhere or other’, George Orwell wrote at the start of his Notes on Nationalism, ‘Byron makes use of the French word longueur, and remarks in passing that though in England we happen not to have the word, we have the thing in considerable profusion …’ Beginning with Orwell’s perceptions about vagrant life in England in Down and Out in Paris and London, this paper looks at Byron’s use of travelogue in the London and Country House Cantos of Don Juan, in particular at details in some of the material from Byron’s manuscript drafts that did not make it into the published version of the poem. Orwell and Byron are similarly fascinated by the etiquette of social contexts in which traditional English liberties had been exchanged for a culture of over-priced hotels, fox-hunting, alcoholism,  and ennui. For both writers, the exposure of social inequality and establishment cant involves a close attention to linguistic conventions and to things. The evolution of swearing, the persistence of ghost stories, and how the poor die are among several shared interests which emerge from the generic interplay of satire and travel writing as employed by Byron in the vortex of the Congress System and Orwell one hundred years later.  

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