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Maria Schoina, Associate Professor of English Literature, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki | “Byron’s Romantic Philhellenism”
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 Missolonghi on April 19, 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 will discuss 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 skepticism 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.
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 USA.
Maria Schoina is Associate Professor of English Literature in the School of English of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D from Aristotle University. She is the author of Romantic “Anglo-Italians”: Configurations of Identity in Byron, the Shelleys, and the Pisan Circle (Ashgate 2009; Routledge 2016, paperback 2019). Her essays have appeared in journals such as Romanticism, The Byron Journal, The Wordsworth Circle, European Romantic Review, Notes and Queries and in essay collections. Her most recent publications include an essay on Mary Shelley’s Greek studies in The Keats-Shelley Review (2019), a chapter on the Pisan Circle and the Cockney School in Byron in Context (Cambridge UP, 2020) and a chapter on Byron’s reviewers for the Oxford Handbook of Byron (forthcoming, 2022). She was the organiser of this year’s International Byron Conference (online, Thessaloniki, 28 June-2 July 2021).
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