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Liberty and Poetic LicenceNew Essays on Byron$
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Bernard Beatty, Tony Howe, and Charles Robinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780853235897

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315428

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Byron, Napoleon, and Imaginative Freedom

Byron, Napoleon, and Imaginative Freedom

(p.181) Byron, Napoleon, and Imaginative Freedom
Liberty and Poetic Licence

John Clubbe

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Byron's obsession with Napoleon. Napoleon fired Byron's imagination chiefly as a gigantic, though flawed, human being and as a parallel figure against whom to measure his own development. Byron saw himself, in distorted and elliptical form, reflected in Napoleon. Napoleon showed Byron what, for good or for ill, he might become. At times Byron imagined himself as Napoleon, at others as Napoleon's successor. His imaginative immersion in an imagined version of Napoleon was almost frighteningly total.

Keywords:   Byron, Napoleon, obsession

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