In their earliest works, Horace Walpole (Fugitive Pieces in Verse and Prose, 1758) and Lord Byron (Fugitive Pieces, 1806) built a queer temporality of fugitive time out of the occasional pieces and sporadic readers that Samuel Johnson first theorized in The Harleian Miscellany. These juvenile poets aligned several forms of fugitive print—loose scraps, detached fragments, burned books, and encoded secrets—and fugitive figures—political exiles, queer aristocrats, runaway slaves, and amateur poets (often themselves). Walpole and Byron redeem both carefree and imperiled fugitive lives by engaging two antithetical discourses of disappearance: languid, idle ease, and sudden, active flight. This discontinuous eighteenth-century poetics becomes increasingly racially coded as it crosses the Atlantic in the nineteenth century. Fugitive pieces linked Old World flights of fancy and New World runaway slave advertisements, collected works and secure colonial property, and literary selections and sugar cane extracts. In their surprising affirmations of an intermittent, occasional time that allies irregular idlers, miscellaneous fugitives, asylums for poetic pieces, and abolitionist accounts of disabled bodies, juvenile poets moved beyond their era’s straight narrative of imperial progress.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 139-162
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.