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Byron's War


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Table of Contents

Prologue; Part I. The Rebel Imagination (1809–1816): 1. Land of lost gods …; 2. … and modern monsters; Part II. The Road to Revolution (1816–1823): 3. Reluctant Radical; 4. 'Prophet of a noble contest'; 5. Death by water, transfiguration by fire; 6. The deformed transformed; Part III. Greece: 'Tis the Cause Makes All' (July–December 1823): 7. Preparations for battle; 8. Wavering; 9. The new statesman; Part IV. Missolonghi: The Hundred Days (January–April 1824): 10. 'Political economy'; 11. Confronting the warlords; 12. Pyrrhic victory; Epilogue; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Promotional Information

This fresh perspective on Byron's relationship with Greece throws new light on its importance both for Byron and for Greece.

About the Author

Roderick Beaton is Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature in the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London.


'This is rigorous, scrupulous, academic history.' The Spectator

'[A] great achievement …' Times Higher Education Supplement

'[This] work, about Byron and his contribution to the Greek insurgency … is the first to draw deeply on Greek as well as British sources. As a biographer of George Seferis, the Greek poet and Nobel Laureate, Mr Beaton is well placed to plunge into Athenian historiographical debates and the broader Hellenic search for self-understanding … a formidable array of detail …' The Economist

'Indispensable …' Literary Review

'Military historians interested in Byron will benefit greatly from Beaton's book.' Military History

'A very nearly perfect scholarly publication, the sort of work that simultaneously makes other critics glad it finally exists and angry that they didn't write it themselves … Throughout [Beaton] is a marvellous writer, gripping and evocative while also scrupulously scholarly, and in this way, too, his book is a model particularly for academic writers.' Times Literary Supplement

'Byron's War is a superb portrait of a complex personality. Drawing upon new archival research into the bitter civil wars between rival revolutionary factions, Beaton has constructed a gripping narrative of Byron's self-transformation from Philhellene to a pragmatic and courageous politicker. Far from playing at soldiers or sentimentalising the klephts, Byron was a moderniser and internationalist who saw the Greek revolution as a crucible whose future constitution might inspire the transformation of Europe.' Caroline Franklin, Swansea University

'There is nothing else like this book, for Beaton stands alone in his knowledge not just of the English and Greek sources, but also the English and Greek contemporary context. Byron's War changes our understanding of what Byron was trying to do in Greece, and will be the starting point for all subsequent discussions of the topic.' David Roessel, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

'Byron's War is a fascinating and essential read for any further work on Byron, but it is also a stellar example about how our understanding of nineteenth-century Britain's engagement with 'the east' and 'the south' can be truly transformed - neither a fantasy, nor a one-way street.' Adela Pinch, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900

'… occasionally a new book comes along that shakes the kaleidoscope and allows us to see him and parts of his life in a new way. Roderick Beaton's book is one such … it is the merit of the book that it raises big questions that will be argued over, and changes the terms on which they will be approached.' The Anglo-Hellenic Review

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