The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will be held on Friday 8 February in Room G37 (ground floor) at Senate House, University of London, starting at 5.30. As our distinguished guest speaker, we are delighted to welcome Professor Tom Mole of the University of Edinburgh, who will present a paper entitled Byron and the Difficulty of Beginning. This will be followed by a discussion and wine reception. The event is free and open to everyone, including postgraduates and members of the public.
Tom Mole is Professor of English Literature and Book History at the University of Edinburgh, where he is Director of the Centre for the History of the Book. He is the author of Byron’s Romantic Celebrity (2007), and (with Michelle Levy) of The Broadview Introduction to Book History (2017). His most recent book What the Victorians Made of Romanticism (2017) won the Saltire Society Research Book Prize, the Dorothy Lee Award from the Media Ecology Association, and was highly commended for the DeLong Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing.
Regarding the topic of his talk, Tom writes:
“When Byron sat down to start writing Don Juan 200 years ago, he faced a problem common to poets: how to begin. In this paper, I argue that the openings of Byron’s longer poems reveal a number of anxieties about the poetic act of beginning. Byron developed several strategies to take the pressure off the moment of beginning. These reflect his concern about whether his poems would find well-informed and sympathetic readers. With Don Juan, however, Byron found new ways to overcome some of these anxieties, as gestures of beginning became integral to the poem’s comic aplomb.”