chapter  10
14 Pages

Authoring the Self: Childe Harold III *

WithVincent Newey

In this chapter, the author explains the strengths of traditional close-reading informed by some of the philosophical insights of post-structuralism. He outlines his argument with Mark Kipperman’s reading of ‘the creative supremacy of the individual’ in Lord Byron’s poem. The author examines ways in which Byron’s poetic intelligence pushes beyond the limits of the self. Citing some of Sigmund Freud’s and Otto Rank’s ideas about the function of the double, the author suggests that the wanderings of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage recurrently summon up and defer the power of mortality. The early stanzas of Childe Harold Canto III, in both references to Harold and reflections of the poet in propria persona, delineate a whole series of ontological states in which the mind has become divorced from ‘actuality’. Canto III of Childe Harold draws to a close in further foregroundings of the power and limits of creation, and their connection with desire and its irresolution.