|Author||Professor Jeffery W. Vail|
Contradicting the popular perception that Percy Bysshe Shelley was the poet who exerted the most influence upon Lord Byron's work, Jeffery W. Vail convincingly demonstrates that close friend and biographer Thomas Moore was a larger presence in Byron's life and work than any other living writer. In The Literary Relationship of Lord Byron and Thomas Moore, Vail reconstructs the social, political, and literary contexts of both writers' works through extensive consultation of nineteenth-century sources -- including hundreds of contemporary reviews and articles on the two writers and over five hundred unpublished manuscript letters written by Moore.
Beginning with Byron's youthful attempts to imitate Moore's early erotic lyrics, Vail analyzes the impact of Moore's lyric poems, satires, and songs upon Byron's works. He then examines Byron's influence upon Moore, especially in Moore's Orientalist and narrative poems written after 1816. After the news of Byron's death reached England in 1824, Moore battled with Byron's friends and relatives over the fate of Byron's memoirs, earlier entrusted to Moore. Although Moore was forced to allow the memoirs to be destroyed, he made amends by producing the voluminous and psychologically acute biography that helped to establish and guard his friend's legacy. The Literary Relationship of Lord Byron and Thomas Moore improves our modern understanding of Byron's life and work and resurrects Moore as a subject of serious critical inquiry.