This introductory chapter first traces the history of the critical reception of Byron’s works. It considers his cultural status as a writer, rather than as a thinker, and his exclusion from works of literary history. It then discusses how Byron can be placed — and, at times, consciously places himself — within a version of the critical tradition. It argues that his poetry, rather than being reproducible as a discrete branch of philosophy, engages philosophical thought as a prelude to self-understanding. It becomes its own investigation into the thoughtfulness and knowledge of form. The book’s manner, structure and aims are described followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.
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