We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

The changing faces of the Byronic hero in Middlemarch and North and South.

Wootton, S. (2008) 'The changing faces of the Byronic hero in Middlemarch and North and South.', Romanticism., 14 (1). pp. 25-35.


Almost two hundred years after the publication of the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, the Byronic hero remains, as Andrew Elfenbein argues, an ‘unprecedented cultural phenomenon’.1 This essay is not concerned with the more direct descendants of the Byronic hero (Rochester and Heathcliff, for example); rather, I shall be focusing on the less immediately obvious, and in some respects more complex, reincarnations of the Byronic hero in two nineteenth-century novels, George Eliot's Middlemarch and Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. Establishing previously neglected connections between these authors and the figure of the Byronic hero not only opens new avenues of debate in relation to these novels, but also permits a reassessment of the extent and significance of Byron's influence in the Victorian period. The following questions will be addressed: first, why does a Byronic presence feature so prominently in the work of nineteenth-century women writers; second, what is distinctive about Eliot and Gaskell's respective treatments of this figure; and, third, how is the Byronic hero subsequently reinvented, and to what effect, in modern screen adaptations of their work?

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Record Created:14 Feb 2012 09:35
Last Modified:14 Feb 2012 15:48

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitterExport: EndNote, Zotero | BibTex
Look up in GoogleScholar | Find in a UK Library