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  • The International Byron Societies 2017–2018


With sadness, we remember that, in late 2016, the BSA and the larger world of Byron studies lost two men of great importance: Charlie Robinson and J.B. Yount. Both were long-time BSA board members; Charlie had served as Executive Director and J.B. as President of the Society. Both will long be missed by scholars, students, and readers of Byron both in the United States and around the world. Tributes to both men can be found on the Byron Society of America's website:, under the 'News' tab. A tribute to Charlie by Jeffery Vail can be found in the pages of a recent issue of this journal.

The Byron Society of America began the year with its regular sponsorship of a panel at the Modern Language Association Convention, held this year in Philadelphia. The topic for this session was 'Byron and Consumption', and it was organised by Professor Ghislaine McDayter of Bucknell University. Speakers on the panel were Deanna Koretsky on 'Consuming Byron in the Age of Abolition'; Gary Dyer on 'Byron's Works and Public Consumption'; Jonathan Gross on 'Consumption in the Margins: Byron's Secondhand Reading'; and Michael Gamer on 'Consuming Melodrama'.

In April, the BSA helped support a staged reading of Byron's Manfred with a symposium to follow, in honour of the poem's bicentennial and as part of the Romantic Bicentennials initiative we are co-sponsoring with the Keats-Shelley Association of America ( Organised by Omar Miranda in collaboration with the Red Bull Theater in New York, the staged reading of Manfred was directed by Michael Barakiva and held at the Sheen Center, in partnership with NYU. A large audience enjoyed this rare opportunity to hear Manfred performed. Jason Bulter Harner played the role of Manfred, conveying a Hamlet-like indecision to the character, and virtually all of the Spirits, as well as Nemesis and Arimanes, were voiced by female actors. Omar Miranda led a post-show discussion with the director, actors, Artistic Director Jesse Berger, and Professor Jerome McGann.

The staged reading of Manfred was followed the next day by a symposium at NYU, featuring a keynote address by Professor McGann on the difficulties of reading Manfred, and the particular interpretive cruxes of its ambiguous language. The symposium also consisted of talks on Byron's poem by Jane Stabler, Peter Manning, Andrew Stauffer, Jonathan Gross, Jeffrey Cox, Fred Burwick, Alice Levine, Ghislaine McDayter, Clara Tuite, Richard Lansdown, Alan Richardson, Michael Gamer, Emily Bernhard Jackson, and Diego Saglia. More information, including a video of McGann's keynote and an interview with him, can be found here: [End Page 189]

The society gave two grants this year to assistant graduate student participation in the 12th Messolonghi International Student Byron Conference, the theme of which was 'Byron and Nature'. Matthew Denton-Edmundson (Virginia Tech) and Jake Spangler (DePaul) each received $1000 to support trips to Messolonghi, where they gave papers on Byron's work (The Giaour and Manfred, respectively). The BSA remains committed to its travel grant program, and encourages students from the Americas to apply for support to attend either the Messolonghi student conference or the International Byron Conference next year.

In October (in advance of this writing), the BSA (along with the Keats-Shelley Association) will co-sponsor a one-day symposium on 'The Emergence of Keats a Poet', in honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of his first volume. Organised by Kate Singer and Susan Wolfson, the event will be held at Fordham University, bringing together eminent Keats scholars for a day of wide-ranging discussion of his work. The symposium will feature talks by Jonathan Mulrooney, Brian Rejak, Duncan Wu, Grant Scott, Christopher Miller, James Najarian, Suzanne Barnett, and Ann Rowland. The day will conclude with a plenary conversation on Keats's life and writing with Susan Wolfson and Stanley Plumly. This much-anticipated symposium is the primary annual event of the Romantic Bicentennials initiative.

The BSA will support a special event devoted to celebrating the influential life and work of Leslie A...


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