Problems with Childe Harold

I started Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage over the weekend, the version currently on sale online. It’s a print on demand copy, but I figured that would be fine.

Physically, it was. However, there was an interesting article in the Guardian today which made it evident that the version currently on sale is incomplete. Byron wrote footnotes, intended to be read alongside the poem, and they’re omitted.

The version to seek out is this one from Penguin Classics. In the meantime I’ve had to abandon Childe, which is a shame but I’d rather read the full work, rather than the poetry without the commentary Byron intended to accompany it. I’ll restart Childe in a few days once the full version arrives.

The Guardian article, for the curious, is here. It’s part of what looks to be a fascinating series on romantic poetry, by Carol Rumens. There’s a comments section attached, in which Carol Rumens kindly recommended to me the Penguin edition mentioned above.


Filed under Byron, Lord, Personal posts, Romantic Literature

5 responses to “Problems with Childe Harold

  1. I’m wondering about an old university textbook, Max? That’s what I have–notes included (in case you can’t find an old penguin classic edition)
    Funny, I just bought a copy of Tennyson’s poems today and I decided to go with an ancient edition (1898).

  2. I’ve ordered the Penguin edition, which should show up in the next day or so.

    The Black Spider is strange, 1840s Swiss-German with a strong Christian element, I picked it up so as to have something to read on the way home since I had to suddenly abandon the Byron.

  3. I’ve never heard of The Black Spider. The christian thing might be a deal-breaker for me.

  4. It’s very much a Christian story, really a parable. I’ll be writing it up in the next day or so, but I have to admit I hadn’t realised quite how clearly it contained an explicity Christian message.

    It’s interesting, but I suspect it may not be one for you. I enjoyed it, but not enough to seek out more of his work.

  5. I like Pilgrim’s Progress quite a bit–even though it’s a christian allegory, but I do tend to avoid other religious based stuff as a general rule.

    I just finished Zola’s The Dream (review up this weekend) which was a chore to get through. Not only are there pages and pages of stuff about various saints, but then the characters are stymied by religious dogma. The result–flat & uninteresting characters who don’t think for themselves., and it becomes a matter of characters wanting to do something (deemed minor these days) but fearing eternal damnation if they take the plunge. It was such a change of pace from the frequent crudity and bawdiness of The Earth. Oh well.

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