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Lord Byron - The Major Works [Paperback]

George Gordon Lord Byron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2008 Oxford World's Classics
This authoritative edition was originally published in the acclaimed Oxford Authors series under the general editorship of Frank Kermode. It brings together a unique combination of Byron's poetry and prose - all the major poems, complemented by important letters, journals, and conversations - to give the essence of his work and thinking.

Byron is regarded today as the ultimate Romantic, whose name has entered the language to describe a man of brooding passion. Although his private life shocked his contemporaries his poetry was immensely popular and influential, especially in Europe. This comprehensive edition includes the complete texts of his two poetic masterpieces Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan, as well as the dramatic poems Manfred and Cain. There are many other shorter poems and part of the satire English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. In addition there is a selection from Byron's inimitable letters, extracts from his journals and conversations, as well as more formal writings.

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About the Author

Jerome J. McGann, Professor of Humanities, California Institute of Technology.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the shining star of Romanticism July 2 2004
Format:Paperback
Lord Byron was perhaps the most dazzling and influential figure of the Romantic movement. He was certainly the most colorful, controversial, and celebrated poet of his time. His poetic style is controlled, yet the sentiments expressed are passionate. He can be sad and despairing in one stanza, then ecstatically happy in the next, and it is these impulsive mood swings which made him no less contradictory in his beliefs and actions. He wrote some wonderful lyrical poems, but my favorite are his long poems, like "Don Juan." He is and was a captivating personality and a brilliant poet.
David Rehak
author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful stuff, which Goethe called formative. Jan. 19 2004
By Neri
Format:Paperback
Byron claimed to be outside of metaphysical thinking, which Chesterton said is hypocritical; Byron could not exist without the philosophical generational zeitgeist of Kant, Swedenborg, Lamark and Rousseau and the energy they created towards looking at first causes/orgins; time induced thinking which created the sociological inspired individual responsibility of man towards society and his self-induced muckiness of Malthusian conjectures and the societal induced causes of injustice of Mill towards the individual, and the conjectural futurism of Marx and Hegel, which inspired Darwin, the big bang theory, Hegel�fs historical religiosity, religious anthropology (then Joseph Campbell), Hitler�fs paganism, Zionism, other indigenous rights movements, anthropology in general, and psychology. Man's profound and deep rooted sense of his being in the field of time. Byron�fs �gCain�h seems somewhat inspired by the discovery of fossils and dinosaur evidence by Baron Cuvier. Byron�fs energetic placement of himself in the tide of history was a mark of his time and his interpretation may have influenced Wagner and definitely influenced Neitzsche. He was a product of his age and energy. The same energy America was born under, at least in this geist�fs earliest stage. Byron was a product of the metaphysics of his day and the generation previous, consciously of Rousseau and unconsciously of the others. Byron rode this wild beast of freedom and liberty of his time and verbally puked over the common sense and good decorum of British good nature and decency. A poetic rebel. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing May 11 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is the definative collection of Byron works. It is simply amazing, and is composed beautifully. I would recomend it to anyone looking to learn about the amazing life and work of George Gordon, Lord Byron
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a Rare Occurrence, but Penguin Wins Over Oxford Jan. 21 2012
By Suzanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I generally prefer the Oxford World's Classics series to Penguin's editions of the same works and authors. Why? Because Oxford boasts better (thicker) paper, better fonts, better printing, better covers, usually better notes and better introductions... Oxford just seems to present an overall better product at roughly equivalent prices. But Oxford made a crucial mistake in their edition of Lord Byron: The Major Works--they didn't give Don Juan a separate volume. The effect of stuffing Don Juan into this volume means that the book is conflated to an unwieldy 1100+ pages, and several of Byron's key poems are either omitted or severely abridged (like Lara and The Corsair). Here, they really should've followed Penguin's lead in creating separate volumes for Don Juan and another for Byron's other poetry. But it's even worse when one considers that the Oxford contains a sampling of Byron's prose. So after you subtract the pages for Don Juan and the prose, you're left with only about 470 pages of Byron's other poetry in compared to Penguin's 780.

Now, granted, perhaps what's available here in the Oxford Edition will be enough for many readers, and it does still provide its usual advantages in paper, printing, font, notes, and intros. Byron was incredibly prolific, but like most prolific poets he tended to produce more bad poetry than good/great poetry. It's just a numbers thing; writing great poetry takes time and attention to small details. It's why it took Milton years to write Paradise Lost at a rate of 40-or-so lines a day. Every detail had to be worked out. At Byron's best he was as good as anybody, and his skill combined with his unique philosophical worldview makes him endlessly provocative, compelling, and readable, even at his worst. Byron didn't believe in Pope's maxim about how the real art of poetry was in rewriting and perfecting what one had written. He rarely tried to better his drafts, preferring to move on to the next project. I think this approach works best in his longer works where minor imperfections in the verse--be they occasionally bland, prose-like formulations, awkward meter, et al.--were less noticeable when set against the macro vision of the narrative and characters.

But, in light of realizing that Byron was at his best in the longer pieces, it's precisely those that are hurt most in The Oxford Edition. Lara and The Corsair are essential Byron, even if they're not as great as Don Juan or Child Harold's Pilgrimage, and they're almost non-existent here. And lesser (but still quality) works like The Siege of Corinth and The Prisoner of Chillon are gone entirely. So, I'll leave it up to each individual customer to decide if the Oxford's usual strengths compensate for the loss of these works. Another option is the Norton Critical Edition, which is more valuable for its critical apparatus than for the poetry itself.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the serpent's voice sounded to Eve Sept. 18 2007
By Neutiquam Erro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
All passion, intensity and fire, Byron cuts a swathe through the Regency era's lights, literature and ladies. He does so in a style that is the most beautiful and high prose you will ever read; magnificent curving arcs of words that could have come straight from the proud mouth of an archangel (or Lucifer himself). Of course, he occasionally descends into petty back-stabbing, misogyny and generally seems to be a bit of a spoilt child with too much time on his hands, but you can forgive him that just for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage alone.

This book claims to contain most of Lord Byron's major works and it certainly is a full volume, weighing in at over 1000 pages in paperback format. The larger works include the above-mentioned Pilgrimage and Don Juan. These take up at least 700 pages themselves. The remaining space is occupied by Manfred - a rather Nietzschean work about a magician; the Giaour - a tale of unrepentant love and loss; Mazeppa - a story of a man whose fortunes fall and rise dramatically; Beppo - a Venetian affaire de cour; Cain - an intense retelling of the biblical tale with Manichean overtones, and assorted shorter poems. There are also fifty pages of assorted correspondence with various individuals. The book comes equipped with a very short introduction (for a book of 1000 pages), a chronology of Byron's life, an index and end notes. There is very little in the way of explanation of why pieces are included and the end notes are mostly helpful but often explain the obvious while leaving the obscure, obscure. If you like books that contain no analysis, this is for you, but if you want things explained you will do better with something else.

Personally, I preferred the intensity and vision of Childe Harold, Cain and the Giaour to the more sarcastic and occasionally contrived style of Don Juan. Byron is at his best describing beauty - be it nature, art or woman. And much, if not all, of what he writes about is related to the fairer sex. You should write what you know about, they say, and Byron certainly knew women - in both the intellectual and biblical sense. His love affairs raged across all of Europe and brought him condemnation from his peers - particularly his dalliance with his half-sister. His books are full of the worship of the beauty of women and he objectifies them in a way that is entirely politically incorrect in our day and age and likely was then as well. If you can get past the fact that he seems like a teenage boy in rut most of the time, his descriptive powers, characterization, wit, sheer beauty and nobility of expression are sure to please.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a well made book... Nov. 7 2008
By E. E. Mort - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The text is nice enough but I guess you get what you pay for and there is no way the books ultra cheep constructions gets you through its 1120 pages... just like the other two Oxford World Press books I ordered with this one. Really, $0.08 more a book to put a sturdy cover on it please?!?!?
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the shining star of Romanticism July 2 2004
By I ain't no porn writer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lord Byron was perhaps the most dazzling and influential figure of the Romantic movement. He was certainly the most colorful, controversial, and celebrated poet of his time. His poetic style is controlled, yet the sentiments expressed are passionate. He can be sad and despairing in one stanza, then ecstatically happy in the next, and it is these impulsive mood swings which made him no less contradictory in his beliefs and actions. He wrote some wonderful lyrical poems, but my favorite are his long poems, like "Don Juan." He is and was a captivating personality and a brilliant poet.
David Rehak
author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The better text May 10 2013
By Andy Lowry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book-length Penguin of "Don Juan" doubtless has fuller notes, but its editors' liberties with punctuation make McGann's text in this Oxford edition indispensable. The Penguin assumes Byron didn't know how to punctuate, and revises accordingly. I decided to buy this volume when I read canto I, verse 221, in the Penguin and found the exclamation point at "still gentler purchaser!" gone. Feeling in DJ has it over sense -- thou shalt not read "Don Juan" for its plot! -- and McGann lets Byron be Byron, rather than correct him like a schoolboy. Buy this one (and the Penguin selected verse, if your thirst be not slaked).
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