Chasms in Connections: Byron Ending (in) Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage 1 and 2 *
Paul Elledge’s interest in formal paradigms of separation such as metaphor, synecdoche and metonymy draws on the New Critical tradition of close reading, and is supplemented with a post-structural enthusiasm for moments of equivocation or undecidability. His reading of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage presents the impossibility of the pilgrim returning home as the endlessly deferred meaning of a deconstructionist’s text. In this way Lord Byron’s poetry appears to have anticipated theoretical meditations on fissures, absences and voids in signification. If the mature Byron appears to have accommodated and even exploited his lameness with considerable physical and psychological dexterity, the childhood cruelties and humiliations it earned him left influential scars. Himself dividing and bereft, and in division bereaving others of what he paradoxically offers for their soul’s enjoyment, Byron withdraws in relational poverty and despair. The chapter outlines the work on 'Byron ending: suffering, evading, disguising, denying, performing, and surviving terminations; ending relationships, poems, relationships with poems and their audiences'.