‘Something sensible to grasp at’
Byron and Italian Catholicism
in Byron and Italy
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This chapter documents the evolution of Byron’s personal and poetic relationship with Catholicism from what was presumably his first real encounter with it at Newstead Abbey in 1798 through to the final cantos of Don Juan and the figure of Aurora Raby. Detailing and exploring Byron’s experience of Italian friars, priests, cardinal legates, a pope and, most importantly, Italian Catholic women, the chapter suggests that, in Catholic Italy, spiritually, Byron found ‘something sensible to grasp at’. Ranging across Byron’s poetic career, the chapter sees the poet begin as a John Knox in response to Catholicism but progressively become not only a thinker of theological precision but also a ‘sympathetic outsider’ and, indeed, even an insider to Italian Catholic experience

Editors: Alan Rawes and Diego Saglia

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