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Clement Tyson Goode, Jr. ed. George Gordon, Lord Byron: A Comprehensive, Annotated Research Bibliography of Secondary Materials in English 1973-1994. Lanham and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1997. ISBN: 0-8108-3186-4. Price: £90.25

  • Andrew Nicholson

…plus d’informations

  • Andrew Nicholson
    University of Bristol

Corps de l’article

Clement Tyson Goode has devoted a lifetime to bibliographical research into Byron. The present volume represents the culmination of his painstaking labours and should be regarded as a continuation of his and Oscar José Santucho's George Gordon, Lord Byron: A Comprehensive Bibliography of Secondary Materials in English, 1807-1974, with A Critical Review of Research (Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc, 1977). Together these form the most impressive and exhaustive record of the critical responses to and commentary on Byron since his first published appearance. It is difficult to do justice to such a magisterial project. The first part of the earlier volume provided a detailed survey of the criticism of and attitudes towards Byron's works from 1807, through the 19th century and the first half of the 20th up until 1974. Hence such crucial reactions as Carlyle's or Arnold's in the 19th, and Eliot's in the 20th century were documented, as were such landmark studies as M.K. Joseph's Byron the Poet (1964), Robert Gleckner's Byron and the Ruins of Paradise (1967), Jerome McGann's Fiery Dust (1968) and Michael Cooke's The Blind Man Traces the Circle (1969). So too were the great Coleridge and Prothero edition of Byron's Works (1898-1904), the seminal three-volume biography of Byron by Leslie Marchand (Byron. A Biography , 1957) and the works of other great Byron scholars such as Doris Langley Moore (The Late Lord Byron , 1961; Lord Byron: Accounts Rendered , 1974) and Malcolm Elwin (Lord Byron's Wife , 1962; The Noels and the Milbankes , 1968; Lord Byron's Family , 1975).

However, since that time, there has been a considerable growth in Byron scholarship, and the canon itself has undergone a fundamental revision leading to new and definitive editions of his texts: Leslie Marchand's thirteen-volume edition of Byron's Letters and Journals (1973-94), Jerome McGann's seven-volume edition of Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works (1980-93) and my edition of Lord Byron: The Complete Miscellaneous Prose (1991). In addition, since 1985 Garland Publishing has been steadily producing Facsimile editions of Byron's manuscript poetry (original drafts and fair copies) in their Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics series under the general editorship of Donald H. Reiman, with an array of editors, amongst the most recent of whom Peter Cochran (Lord Byron XIII: The Prisoner of Chillon and Don Juan, Canto IX , 1995) and Cheryl Fallon Giuliano (Lord Byron XI: Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte and Don Juan Canto VIII and Stanzas from III and IX , 1997) deserve special mention. Moreover, the criticism of Byron has matured and taken a decidedly enlightened and more positive turn over the last twenty years, responding with vigour and sophistication to the various schools of critical thought (gender studies, feminism, Orientalism, historicism, psychoanalysis), and to the social and philosophical theories of, for instance, Foucault, Bakhtin, Derrida, Ricoeur, Blanchot, Baudrillard and Said. Again the work of McGann has been a formative influence in opening up this rich field of investigation and revaluation, as has that of Bernard Beatty, Drummond Bone, Malcolm Kelsall, and Frederick Beaty (Byron the Satirist , 1985), Peter Graham (Don Juan and Regency England , 1990), Caroline Franklin (Byron's Heroines , 1992), Richard Lansdown (Byron's Historical Dramas , 1992), Jerome Christensen (Lord Byron's Strength , 1993), Andrew Elfenbein (Byron and the Victorians , 1995), James Soderholm (Fantasy, Forgery, and the Byron Legend , 1996) and Moyra Haslett (Byron's Don Juan and the Don Juan Legend , 1998) - to name but some of the most distinguished of recent studies.

To these must now be added Professor Goode's A Comprehensive, Annotated Research Bibliography of Secondary Materials in English 1973-1994 which itself records the progress outlined above. As its title suggests, this volume documents all the secondary materials on Byron - articles, reviews, books - published over the last twenty years or so, as well as unpublished doctoral theses and dissertations and a miscellany of Byroniana. It does not attempt to include primary materials (such as manuscripts), unpublished secondary materials (such as papers read at conferences or M.A. theses), local newspaper notices and audiovisual materials, nor materials written in a language other than English (though this by no means excludes articles or reviews written in English but published in foreign periodicals). None the less, it comprises at the most modest estimation more than 6000 entries, and the wealth and range of the information provided is truly formidable.

There are three indices: Author Index, Subject Index and Index to Byron's Works, each of which refers to the bibliography proper by year (in bold type) followed by the entry number (in plain type). Thus, for example, in the Subject Index we find "Eco, Umberto 92 , 174", and proceeding to entry number 174 in the year 1992 in the bibliography itself we find (p. 669):

174 Schmid, Thomas H. "A Cold Carnival: Byron's Beppo ," Humor and Transgression in Peacock, Shelley, and Byron: A Cold Carnival . Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1992. Pp. 135-53. [Discusses Beppo in the light of the theories of Umberto Eco and Bakhtin.]

Or, to take another example, we may remember an author's name but not the title or location of his or her article: the Author Index will lead us there following the same procedure. Or again, we may wish to know everything that has been written since 1973 on Byron's Sardanapalus : we have only to look under that heading in the Index to Byron's Works. This facilitates reference and cross-reference within the book most admirably, and indeed as a whole it is laid out with great consideration for the reader and is entirely "user-friendly".

As the above example illustrates, one of the virtues of this volume (though this is to speak in comparisons amongst superlatives) is that every single major article or book listed is annotated ; if only briefly, certainly adequately and trenchantly enough (and without prejudice) to assist the individual researcher in pursuing his or her specific needs, interests or enquiries. To take an example from the same page:

175 Scrivener, Michael. "The Black Dwarf Review of Byron's The Age of Bronze ," KSJ , 41 (1992), 42-48. [After placing The Age of Bronze in context (publication, reviews, ideological matrix) and characterizing the journal (radical, poetry oriented, and patriotic), Scrivener prints this anonymous (almost certainly by the editor Thomas Wooler) only radical review which criticizes the poem for not being radical, contemporary, or English enough.]

In the case of critical works with multiple contributors (eg. Reviewing Romanticism , ed. Philip W. Martin and Robin Jarvis, 1992, listed on p. 662), each individual author's contribution is identified and annotated. Moreover, the location of the reviews of every major work on Byron is appended (eg. Peter Manning's Byron and His Fictions , 1978, listed on pp. 160-61 with no less than thirteen of its reviewers), so that the immediate critical reception with which it met and the variety of the responses it stimulated may be consulted.

Finally, to take an example of an item that may seem on the face of it to have little or no connection with Byron (p. 424):

152 Reilly, Patrick. George Orwell: The Age's Adversary . New York: St. Martin's, 1986. [Byron's rationale for forcing himself to attend a double guillotining is used to illustrate the same Orphic impulse in Orwell.]

This is bibliographical research at its most assiduous and thorough. Byron has been fortunate in his bibliographer. So have we. This is an essential reference book for all Byron scholars - indeed, for any one interested in the Romantic period. We thank Clement Goode for his devotion and industry and we wish him well.