This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents examples of contemporary criticism of all the major areas of George Gordon Byron's poetry, excluding only biographical controversy and comments on certain minor works like Hebrew Melodies, Heaven and Earth, The Island and The Deformed Transformed. It also presents major documents of Victorian and Edwardian criticism. The book focuses on the great prestige reviews, the Edinburgh and the Quarterly, and to a lesser extent on Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, the most famous–some would say the most infamous–of the literary magazines. It discusses that the major writers of the day, whose views are of special interest even when they are misguided or unfair. The book explores the members of John Murray's 'Synod'–the Albemarle Street circle–many of whom Byron counted as his friends, and who acted to some extent as advisers, whether to the publisher or to the poet.