Lord Byron's Poem "The Giaour" Poem Review by scribbler

Lord Byron's Poem "The Giaour"
Analyzes the overt orientalism in Lord Byron's poem "The Giaour".
# 152294 | 1,270 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jan 23, 2013 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis)

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This paper explains that Lord Byron's poem "The Giaour" (1813) is a deliberate subversion of the dichotomy between European selves and Asian others, which promotes its own explicitly romantic ideal, the Byronic hero himself. Next, the author asserts that the political allegory of the hero of "The Giaour" embodying European civilization, his antagonist the Muslim Turk Hassan representing the fantasy of the Asian despot, and Leila, over whom they compete, is problematic. The paper concludes that, in "The Giaour", Byron, as an Enlightenment intellectual, embraces the concept of the independence the other and respects the autonomy of the two cultures precisely for their otherness.

From the Paper:

"Ultimately, compared to both Leila and the Giaour, this Ottoman is the closest thing to an authentic "Greek" we see. Like the now-extinct classical Hellenes ("living Greece no more," 91), this is his "native land" (736) and so, absent the Mainotes, this Ottoman has the only real claim on belonging in this landscape. It is the Giaour who is the interloper here; the Westerner who plays the role of exotic.
"There are no Britons here either. By portraying the Giaour as a Venetian, Byron associates him not only with the pre-Ottoman Christian rulers of the Adriatic coast--endowing his protagonist with historical legitimacy--but also with the Latinate antagonists of the Gothic genre. Far from simply shifting the Gothic scene from "Catholic and autocratic Southern Europe" to the Ottoman Empire with all symbolic baggage intact as Kelly (5) implies, the Byronic "Oriental" romance challenges the genre's conventional distinction between Latin vice and English virtue. In a Gothic context, a solitary and apparently itinerant Italian would have been a suspicious or even depraved personage, and a monk in particular would probably be a sinister character indeed; Byron inverts contemporary literary expectations by making the Italian the nominal hero and turning him into a monk."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brinks, Ellen. Gothic Masculinity: Effeminacy and the Supernatural in English and German Romanticism. Danvers: Rosemont Publishing, 2003. Print.
  • Butler, Marilyn. "The Orientalism of Byron's Giaour." Byron and the Limits of Fiction. Ed. Bernard G. Beatty and Vincent Newey. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1988. 78-96. Print.
  • Cochran, Peter. "Byron's Orientalism." Byron and Orientalism. Ed. Peter Cochran. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006. 1-150. Print.
  • Demata, Massimiliano. "Byron, Turkey, and the Orient." The Reception of Byron in Europe, Volume I. Ed. Richard Andrew Cardwell. London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004. Print.
  • Irwin, Robert. "The Muslim World in British Fictions of the Nineteenth Century." Britain and the Muslim World: Historical Perspectives, University of Exeter. 17-19 Apr. 2009. Web. <http://eric.exeter.ac.uk/exeter/bitstream/10036/66375/5/BMWIrwinR.pdf>

Cite this Poem Review:

APA Format

Lord Byron's Poem "The Giaour" (2013, January 23) Retrieved June 05, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/poem-review/lord-byron-poem-the-giaour-152294/

MLA Format

"Lord Byron's Poem "The Giaour"" 23 January 2013. Web. 05 June. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/poem-review/lord-byron-poem-the-giaour-152294/>