The world of Byron Studies is continually evolving and yet is full of past echoes. Self-fashioning is one of those Byronic watchwords, like mobility and scepticism perhaps, which seem to turn up continually and yet never cease to provoke new and challenging readings of his life and verse. In this issue of The Byron Journal, Byronic self-fashioning is to the fore in a number of essays. Rolf Lessenich examines Byron’s ambivalent attitude to the notion of same-sex love and his attempts to reconcile his sexuality with Calvinism and the precepts of a liberal-classical education in a period that saw the spread of normative sexual pathologies. Joselyn Almeida and Daniel Westwood both look at the different ways in which Byron’s self-fashioning was complicated through his use of doubles. In Almeida’s case this takes the form of a reading of Byron’s use of the mask of the Cynic philosopher Diogenes in The Age of Bronze, which enables him to speak out against economic and political corruption. Westwood closely reads Byron’s use of Napoleon and Wordsworth as imperfect equivalents in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Canto III.
Byron’s cosmopolitanism and ability to reach beyond national borders is another feature with which Byronists are familiar and yet, given an uncertain post-Brexit landscape in Europe, it is pertinent that we should be reminded of this. While the IABS conference moves on from the hugely successful conference in Paris (an account of which is included in the present issue) to Armenia in 2017, two essays reflect the continuing important work being done on Byron’s European impact. Here, Magdalena Ożarska enriches our knowledge of Byron’s Polish reception through her account of travel writer Łucja Rautenstrauchowa’s depiction of Byron—which includes extensive indebtedness to Teresa Guiccioli—in In and Beyond the Alps. Carla Pomarè’s detailed account of Byron’s Italian letters and their place in debates about the status of written Italian in the early nineteenth century further demonstrates the value of Byron’s writing in a European context.
The final essay in this issue is a short, but intriguing, note on a recent find made by Jane Stabler while working on the manuscript of Manfred for the forthcoming Longman’s Byron. There are also conference and society reports, along with Alex Alec-Smith’s report on Byron auctions for the last year.
One final thing: I would like to give advance publicity to the next issue of the journal, which will be a guest-edited one on the theme of ‘Byron and America’. I have seen the array of subjects and can let you know that it promises to contain some excellent essays on a theme that has never before been extensively addressed. [End Page v]