Vol. 20, No. 18

July 19, 2001

International conference to
focus on poet Byron's legacy

From all over the world, approximately 150 Byron scholars and others interested in the famous 19th-century Romantic poet George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), are planning to attend the 27th International Byron Conference, to be held Aug. 4-13, in Boston, New York City and at the University of Delaware.

Participants represent several countries, including the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany, Bulgaria, France, India, Japan, South Africa, Israel and Canada as well as the United States.

Sponsored by the Byron Society of America and the University of Delaware, in cooperation with the International Council of Byron Societies, which has organizations in 37 countries, the conference will be centered on the theme, "Lord Byron: Heritage and Legacy."

UD has strong ties with the Byron Society of America. Charles Robinson, English, a noted Byron scholar who has lectured and written extensively about the poet, is executive director of the organization.

The society was founded in 1972 by Marcia Manns, AS '71, a former student of Robinson's, who currently chairs the society, and by the late Leslie A. Marchand, a Byron scholar at Rutgers University. The Byron Society of America Collection, which consists of more than 2,000 volumes, 400 pamphlets, letters and other objects ranging from figurines and busts to a lock of Byron's hair is housed in Memorial Hall.

Conference participants will hold academic sessions at the Houghton Library of Harvard University, the New York Public Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York University and UD. There will be many opportunities for visiting places of interest in Boston, New York and Delaware, including a visit to the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University.

Several academic sessions are scheduled at Clayton Hall from Aug. 9-13.

A highlight of the conference is a reception, banquet and the second annual Leslie A. Marchand Lecture, entitled "The Moods of Lord Byron" by Kay Redfield Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Her talk begins at 9 p.m. on Aug. 9 in Clayton Hall. Jamison is the author of Touches with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, arguing that Byron was manic-depressive. She wrote about her own experiences with manic-depressive illness in An Unquiet Mind in 1995, which was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages.

A presentation, "Byron's Screen: Visual Representation and the Performance of Identity" by Sonia Hofkost, associate professor of English and director of the Women's Studies Program at Tufts University, will be presented at 6 p.m., Aug. 10, at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington.

A reception will begin at 6:15 p.m., Aug. 11, for conference participants at the Peirce-du Pont House at Longwood Gardens. Another reception will be held from 3-4:30 p.m., Aug. 12, in the Byron Lounge of Memorial Hall, where participants may view the Byron Society Collection. Manns will talk about the collection.

The University community is invited to attend free of charge presentations at any of the academic sessions. For those who wish coffee and lunch there is a daily registration fee of $25. The cost for those who wish to participate in the entire UD part of the conference including lunches, dinners and receptions, the cost is $150.

Academic presentations scheduled at Clayton Hall are

Friday, Aug. 10

From 8:45-10:45 a.m.: "Byron and Virgil: 1799-1807," Phil Cardinale, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford; "Byron's Shakespearean Heritage," Linda Montag, a doctoral candidate at the University of Haifa, Israel; and "Byron Humours," Bernard G. Beatty, a lecturer at Liverpool University and author and editor of books about Byron;

From 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: "Byron, Freemasonry and the Carbonari," Jonathan D. Gross, associate professor in the English Department of DePaul University and author and editor of books about Byron; "Leigh Hunt and the ''free spirit' of Byron," Timothy Webb, Winterstoke Professor of Engligh at the University of Bristol; and "Byronic Anger and the Victorians," Andrew Stauffer, assistant professor of English at Boston University; who has written numerous article on Byron.

Saturday, Aug. 11

From 8:45-10:45 a.m.: "The Beauty of Innuendos: Byron's Aesthetic Legacy," Kainoa K. Harbottle, doctorate candidate at UD; "Heritage and Innovation in Byron's Narrative Stanzas," Catherine Addison, associate professor of English at the University of Zululand in South Africa; and "Byron's and Heine's Transgression of Romanticism," Alexandra M. Böhm, a scholar from the University of Giessen in Germany.

From 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: "Byron and Wordsworth: Milton's Neo-Classical and Romantic Heirs," Jonathon Shears, a doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool; "Byron, Darwin and Paley: Interrogating Natural Theology," Christine Kenyon Jones, a lecturer at King's College, London, who has published widely on Byron; and "Childe Harold's Legacy to Stephen in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," by Allan Gregory, former secretary of the Irish Byron Society.

Sunday, Aug. 12

From 8:45-10:45 a.m.: "From Lamartine to George Sand: The Presence of Lord Byron on the French Literary Stage," Christiane Vigouroux, a teacher and member of the French Byron Society; "Elizabeth Bennet and Childe Harold or the Grim in Harold's Pilgrimage," Shobhana Bhattacharji, a reader at Delhi University; and "The Rise of the Byronic Hero in Recent Adaptations of Austen, Eliot and the Brontes," Sarah Wootton, a teaching fellow at the University of Sheffield.

From 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: "Byron's Influence on 19th-Century Canadian Literature," Tracy Ware, a teacher at Queen's University in Ontario; and "Teaching Byron en Acadie," Paul Curtis, head of the English department at the University of Moncton, New Brunswick.

Monday, Aug. 13

From 9.-11:30 a.m.: "Byron and Three Composers: Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Schumann," William Biddle, a retired teacher now studying Romantic poetry a the University of Washington; "A Giaour's Ditty: Byron in the Greek Song Tradition," Christina Dokou, a lecturer in English studies at the University of Athens; and "Byron as a Poet of German Song," Suzanne Summerville, a former professor of music and women's studies at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

For more information on the conference, call Robinson at 831-3654 or send e-mail to [robinson@udel.edu].

–Sue Moncure