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Date

4-28-2020

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Having studied the works of Lord Byron, including Don Juan, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Cain, I have developed a perspective on the new morality he is defining and traced the appearance of this morality in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Byron wrote his poetry at the beginning of a new historical and cultural moment where the government and society emphasized conventions that confined the individual in order to maintain control. His writing is a direct response to this confinement: his heroes Don Juan, Childe Harold, and Cain are outsiders casting an ultra-critical eye on their society, while simultaneously looking inward at the faults of the self. I contend that Byron's poetic project is to create a new morality, which I call Byronic morality as distinct from that of his social milieu; one that is focused on principles of truth, knowledge, and, most importantly, rebellion against corruption and convention. The Byronic hero, frequently adapted and incorporated into many literary works, spreads this Byronic morality across generations of writers and readers. I will discuss the influence of Byronic morality on the His Dark Materials trilogy published in the late 1990s. Byron and Pullman's ideologies both subvert the conventions upheld by society and enforced by religion and government. Byron and Pullman create a space for spirituality that serves the individual, promotes knowledge and truth, and reveres nature. I plan to outline the foundations of Byronic morality established in Byron's poetry and then analyze their manifestation in Pullman's modern version of Byronic morality.

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Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

"Don't Stop Believin": Byronic Morality and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials

Having studied the works of Lord Byron, including Don Juan, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Cain, I have developed a perspective on the new morality he is defining and traced the appearance of this morality in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Byron wrote his poetry at the beginning of a new historical and cultural moment where the government and society emphasized conventions that confined the individual in order to maintain control. His writing is a direct response to this confinement: his heroes Don Juan, Childe Harold, and Cain are outsiders casting an ultra-critical eye on their society, while simultaneously looking inward at the faults of the self. I contend that Byron's poetic project is to create a new morality, which I call Byronic morality as distinct from that of his social milieu; one that is focused on principles of truth, knowledge, and, most importantly, rebellion against corruption and convention. The Byronic hero, frequently adapted and incorporated into many literary works, spreads this Byronic morality across generations of writers and readers. I will discuss the influence of Byronic morality on the His Dark Materials trilogy published in the late 1990s. Byron and Pullman's ideologies both subvert the conventions upheld by society and enforced by religion and government. Byron and Pullman create a space for spirituality that serves the individual, promotes knowledge and truth, and reveres nature. I plan to outline the foundations of Byronic morality established in Byron's poetry and then analyze their manifestation in Pullman's modern version of Byronic morality.