This article analyses selected cantos of Don Juan in relation to Russian politics and history. Russia’s ‘strangeness’ was a topic of fascination and revulsion for many writers and intellectuals in eighteenth-century Britain. Byron’s masterpiece with its picaresque hero is a key participant in this tradition. The article maps British preoccupations with Russia from Defoe to Byron before considering Byron’s poem in a dialogic engagement with Russian politics in the Romantic period. The critical apparatus is Bakhtinian and historicist and engages critically with recent work on the poem.
|Studies in the Literary Imagination
|Published - Oct 2003