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Byron's GhostsThe Spectral, the Spiritual and the Supernatural$
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Gavin Hopps

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319709

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319709.001.0001

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Determining Unknown Modes of Being: A Map of Byron’s Ghosts and Spirits

Determining Unknown Modes of Being: A Map of Byron’s Ghosts and Spirits

(p.30) Chapter One Determining Unknown Modes of Being: A Map of Byron’s Ghosts and Spirits
Byron's Ghosts

Bernard Beatty

Liverpool University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the nature, function, authority and significance of spectral entities in Byron’s verse. While ghosts and spirits are often seen as ‘bit-part’ characters, peripheral to the poet’s thinking or are univocally glossed as an insignia of indeterminacy, it shows that Byron thought with discriminating precision about ‘beings of the mind’, heavenly and infernal spirits, ‘palpable presences from the realm of the dead’ and religious or eroticized resurrections. The chapter contrasts Byron’s fascination with spirits and ghosts with other Romantic writers’ depictions of extra-material presences. This paves the way for a discussion on the radical incongruities and transferences between spirit and matter that preoccupy Byron and invite diverse aesthetic and theological inquiries.

Keywords:   spectral entities, poetry, ghosts, spirits, Romantic writers, matter

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