Byron’s ethnographic eye
The poet among the Italians
in Byron and Italy
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In this chapter, Gioia Angeletti examines Byron’s letters to his British correspondents and his journals from the Italian years in order to throw into relief their ‘ethnographic observation of the human and cultural geography of Italy’. Insisting on the contingent reality of the country, rather than an idealised ‘Italy’, these documents show Byron as a cultural mediator between Italy and Britain as he immerses himself in, and offers an insider’s view of, the country’s quotidian life, its ‘anthropological and ethnographic marginalia or minutiae’. However, this chapter also indicates that Byron’s letters home perform a delicate balancing act between immersion and difference, as he retains his Britishness even as he acquires Italianness – an Anglo-Italian doubleness that is a recurrent feature in his more specifically literary writings, too.

Editors: Alan Rawes and Diego Saglia

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