Byron's reception in one of the nineteenth century's largest and most culturally significant post-colonial outposts, Brazil, has been virtually ignored in English studies. The implications of Lord Byron's influence in Brazil are extensive since he was overwhelmingly popular among poets but also subversive to the nationalistic aims of Brazilian Romanticism. Nearly all of the well known Brazilian Romantics were not only influenced by him, but translated him. Their notion of what it meant to be "Byronic," however, differed from ideas held in Europe. The Brazilian Byronic hero was more extreme, macabre, and sentimental, lonelier, darker, and deadlier. Byron had various cult followings in Brazil that established rites and ceremonies and performed Manfred-like rituals. Brazilian Romantic culture had such a marked effect on translations of Byron's work and perceptions of the poet that it provides an exciting context for considering the interplay of social energies between text, author, and culture. This thesis has two primary aims. First, it follows the evolution of Byron's influence in Brazil: starting with its European beginnings, tracing the arrival of Byron's image in Brazil, exploring the explosion of his influence evidenced in Brazilian literature, and considering the cultural obsession that reproduced his image ritualistically in the lives of Brazilian Romantics. Second, the chapters loosely map out several aspects of his celebrity image, or several ways of viewing Byron, including Byron as the rogue debauchee; Byron as the cosmopolitan; Byron as the eccentric, disillusioned poet; and Byron as the satanic Romantic. For Brazil, and much of Europe too, Lord Byron was the embodiment of Romanticism. The way Brazilian Romantics saw Byron, therefore, reflected what they thought English Romanticism to be. Especially in a contemporary critical climate that continues to respond to Jerome McGann's The Romantic Ideology, a Brazilian notion of English Romanticism, which turns out to be so polar to the contemporary English idea of its own just-past Romantic era, further disrupts the idea of stable periodization and a universally codified Romantic movement.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Squires, Matthew Lorin, "The Byronic Myth in Brazil: Cultural Perspectives on Lord Byron's Image in Brazilian Romanticism" (2005). All Theses and Dissertations. 289.
Byron, romanticism, Brazil, cosmopolitan, celebrity