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Lord Byron's The Giaour: More than a Mere Orientalist Curio



This paper argues that Lord Byron's poem The Giaour which has been inaccurately classified as a work of Romantic Orientalism, should be regarded as both an example of political metaphor and a rebuke of British imperialism. Within the poem, the major characters represent Greece, the Ottoman Empire, and Western Europe. It is my contention that the poem does not fulfill many of the criterions that Edward Said states are necessary in order to be considered strictly as a work of Orientalism. These discrepancies include Byron's treatment of character names and their connection to the concept of "otherness," the decidedly Eastern viewpoint of the poem, the passivity and silence of the "Western" characters, and the lack of meaningful comparisons between Oriental and Occidental values, culture, and- most importantly-religion. The poem is also significant because it is arguably the first to feature a fully realized version of the "Byronic hero." In addition, the poem should be viewed as an important source of insight into the inner workings of Lord Byron as an author, a political thinker, and as an individual. The Giaour neatly merges Byron's experiences of traveling through "The Orient" as a young man and the life-changing moral choices he would make toward the end of his life.

Parallel abstracts

本篇論文主張拜倫的詩作《異教徒》被歸類為浪漫東方主義是不正確的,這首詩應被視為帶有政治隱喻(political metaphor)以及對英國帝國主義的斥責,其主要角色代表希臘,奧圖曼帝國以及西歐。本文的論點是這首詩並不符合薩伊德(Edward Said)所定義的東方主義的特點,包括拜倫對角色命名以及這些名字與「他者」概念的關聯,明確的東方觀點,西方角色的被動與沉默,以及缺乏對東西方價值、文化、特別是宗教的對比。這首詩另一大重要性在於這是拜倫第一首完整呈現「拜倫式英雄」的作品。此外,這首詩提供讀者了解拜倫這位作家、政治思想家以及個人的重要資源。《異教徒》結合拜倫年輕時遊歷「東方」 (The Orient)的經驗,以及他過世前所做改變生命的道德抉擇。


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Cited by

Chen, C. H. (2014). 使用圖論研究色彩學中調和色應用的數位遊戲式輔助學習系統 [master's thesis, Chung Yuan Christian University]. Airiti Library. https://doi.org/10.6840/cycu201400207