With deep sorrow we announce the death of Charles E. Robinson, admired and loved by his many students and by scholars of Byron and Romanticism worldwide, on November 20, 2016.
A graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland, Charlie earned his Ph.D. from Temple University under the guidance of the great David V. Erdman. In 1965, Charlie joined the English Department at the University of Delaware, where he remained for his entire career and where, after 1990, he was joined by the influential Shelley editor Donald H. Reiman. At Delaware, Charlie served as Director of Graduate Studies in English from 1981 to 1993. He also served for two decades on the editorial board for the University of Delaware Press.
As a scholar, Charlie was deeply dedicated to Byron studies. His first presentation at the Denver MLA in 1969 focused on Byron’s The Deformed Transformed, a paper later incorporated into his first book, Byron and Shelley: The Snake and Eagle Wreathed in Fight (Johns Hopkins, 1976). The fruits of vast reading, thorough archival research, and lively collaboration with colleagues, Charlie’s scholarship hugely expanded our knowledge of the Byron-Shelley circle. Building on his Mary Shelley Reader (edited with Betty T. Bennett; Oxford, 1990), Charlie transformed Mary Shelley scholarship with his Frankenstein Notebooks (Garland, 1996), an edition recently reissued by Routledge. Charlie also co-edited Liberty and Poetic License: New Essays on Byron (with Bernard Beatty and Tony Howe; Liverpool, 2008) and published The Original Frankenstein (Random House, 2009). At his death, Charlie was preparing a new edition of Hazlitt’s letters and a biography of Shelley’s publisher, Charles Ollier. Early, late, completed, and unfinished—these works reflect the wit, acuteness, and effervescence that Charlie himself embodied.
Charlie’s service to the Byron Society was long and enthusiastic. From promoting the fledgling Byron Society in the early 1970s to hosting the Leslie A. Marchand Lecture Series at Delaware in the 2000s, Charlie dedicated enormous energy to all things Byron. He organized two international Byron conferences at Delaware, the first in 1979 on “Lord Byron and His Contemporaries” and the second in 2001 on “Byron: Heritage and Legacy.” From 1996 to 2006 Charlie served as Executive Director of the Byron Society of America and co-chair of The Byron Society Collection, originally at the University of Delaware. In 2015, Charlie himself delivered the annual Marchand Lecture, speaking on the relationship of Byron and Hazlitt. Elected as Joint Treasurer of the International Association of Byron Societies in 1976, he remained on the International Byron Society board until his death. Attendees at Byron conferences in London, Athens, New York, and Moncton among other places will fondly recall Charlie’s lectures, in which his many jokes, digressions, and gesticulations entertained while his insights enlightened.
In addition to his scholarly endeavors, Charlie was a generous mentor and inspiring teacher. His graduate students, many of whom are now scholars in Romantic studies, will remember well Charlie’s office, crowded with books and redolent with the aroma of coffee; his profound and sometimes profoundly unreadable comments on dissertation chapters; and his winking confession that the grade on seminar papers sometimes depended on how many glasses of wine he’d had when reading them. Like the anxious students he initiated into the profession, whose fears he allayed and to whose job searches and cover letters he devoted weeks or months of his life, Charlie apparently never slept. His middle-of-the-night emails of encouragement or early-morning forwards of job advertisements from the Chronicle of Higher Education live in the lore of the Delaware English Department and in the memories of his grateful students. In honor of his kind and indefatigable mentoring, Charlie in 2005 received an Outstanding Advising and Mentoring Award from the University of Delaware. Charlie’s classroom exploits were no less legendary. As Marsha Manns, founder of the BSA and one of Charlie’s undergraduate students at Delaware, recalls, “Every class was an adventure, crammed full of passion and excitement; students eagerly arrived in advance of the 8:30 AM start time and lingered long after the class was over to talk with Charlie. His own enthusiasms for our poets and for his students completely filled the classroom with anticipation.” All of Charlie’s students report similar experiences, though each anecdote is unique. To collect the stories of Charlie’s humor and humanity would require a very long volume.
Charlie leaves behind his wife, Nanette, who was his traveling companion on many Byron-related conferences and adventures, his son John, and his daughter Clare. Charlie will be remembered for his Catholic faith, his service to the community of Arden, his lessons on poetry and meter for high school students in Wilmington, Delaware, and his wry replies to detractors of his beloved West Virginia, both the state and the Mountaineer basketball team. His family, friends, and students will miss his generosity, energy, and passionate inquiries relating to Byron, Mary Shelley, and beyond.
With deep sadness we announce the recent death of Joseph Byron Yount III, familiarly known to Byronists worldwide as J. B., on October 2, 2016.
Over a quarter of a century ago J. B., always interested in the poet whose name he shared, contacted Jerome McGann with a scholarly question. “There’s a Byron Society, and you should join it,” Jerry advised. J. B. joined, and for decades he enriched Byronworld with his distinctive presence. J. B. attended international Byron conferences in Nottingham, Prague, Venice, Boston/New York/ Newark DE, St. Andrews, and Versailles.
He served as President of the Byron Society of America, where his legal counsel proved invaluable as the BSA moved its collection of books and other Byroniana to its present home at Drew University. J. B. entertained and edified many Byronists who visited him over more than two decades. His hospitality was lavish, his knowledge of Virginia history extensive, and his smoothly guided tour of Jeffersonian Virginia ranging from Charlottesville to Monticello, Barboursville, Montpelier, Ash Lawn, and Poplar Forest, unforgettable.
J. B. was the proud descendant of two old Shenandoah Valley families and a lifelong resident of Waynesboro Virginia. He was a partner in the Edmunds, Willets, Yount and Hicks law firm and was the second-youngest mayor in Waynesboro’s history. For 25 years he served as Waynesboro’s city attorney, acting also as city planner for much of that time. Well-known as a local historian and lecturer, JB was a pillar of many institutions besides the BSA, among them the Augusta County Historical Society, the Augusta County Bar Association, Fishburne Military School, and the University of Science and Philosophy established at nearby Swannanoa by Walter and Lao Russell. He was a faithful Presbyterian, a staunch Mason, and a fervent Wahoo, a life member of the Waynesboro NAACP and a 60-year member of Farmington Country Club outside Charlottesville. J. B. was a reader, a collector, and a superb raconteur (to experience his mellifluous cadences, read a few paragraphs of Remembered for Love, his biography of Lao Russell), a Virginia gentleman and a citizen of the world—and, like Byron, a profound, amused student of human nature in all its complexity. As Marsha Manns, founder of the BSA, fondly recalls, J. B. “could see through anything–could politic intensely to accomplish a good end and yet have everyone think the world of him. He accomplished more in one lifetime than seems possible and yet he never wearied.”
J. B.’s many friends, in Byron circles and beyond, will miss his warmth, wisdom, generosity, and goodness—and his stories.
Peter Graham, Vice President, Byron Society of America
Andrew Stauffer, President, Byron Society of America
Please consider attending this exciting event next month. Direct questions to Dr. Robin Hammerman of Stevens Institute of Technology (email@example.com).
AUSTEN AND BYRON: TOGETHER AGAIN
Thursday, April 21, 2016
4:00 to 9:00 P.M.
Drew University Library, in collaboration with the Jane Austen Society of North America/New York Metropolitan Region and the Byron Society of America, invites you to continue the exploration of this most elegant pairing of antipodal Romantic writers at the Drew University Library, home of the Byron Society Collection. This mini-conference will continue the conversation begun at the 2008 “Austen and Byron: Together at Last” conference held in New York City.
For both specialists and general readers of Austen and Byron, the occasion celebrates this year’s multiple focus within Romantic circles on the signal year of 1816—the year Byron’s Childe Harold III was published and Austen began writing Persuasion. From a general conversation on Persuasion to a special lecture by noted Romanticist Rachel Brownstein of Brooklyn College, this mini-conference will also radiate out to touch on conflicting forces in “The Spirit of the Age” that Austen and Byron clearly represent in the Regency years 1812-1818. Byronists and Janeites will likewise enjoy a special showcase of selected items from Drew University Library’s Byron Society Collection and items from the splendid Jane Austen Collection on loan for this occasion from Goucher College Special Collections & Archives. Specially conducted tours of the United Methodist Archives and History Center, home of Drew University Library Special Collections will complement the day’s events.
4:00-4:15 p.m. Welcome (Chris Anderson, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, and Marsha Manns, Co-Founder of the Byron Society Collection.
4:14-5:30 p.m. Discussion led by Robert Ready, Dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, on Austen’s Persuasion. Selected materials from the Byron Society Collection and the Austen collection at Goucher will be available for examination by discussion participants.
5:30-6:00 p.m. Coffee/tea/cake break and viewing of special exhibition of related materials from
Drew’s Byron Society Collection and Goucher’s Austen materials on loan for the event.
6:00-7:00 p.m. Lecture by Rachel Brownstein, Brooklyn College.
“Austen and Byron: Literary Taste and Judgment”
Rachel M. Brownstein has taught at the City University of New York since 1973. She is the author of three books: Becoming a Heroine: Reading about Women in Novels (1982),Tragic Muse: Rachel of the Comedie-Francaise (1995), and Why Jane Austen? (2011).
7:15-9:00 p.m. Substantial wine and hors d’oeuvre reception and tours of the Special Collection Library.
All events take place in the United Methodist Archives Building.
Participants may register for the entire—or selected portions—of the event.
Please visit the event webpage: www.drew.edu/library/special-collections/austen_and_byron
Transportation to the Drew campus for those travelling between New York/Penn Station and Madison train station via. New Jersey Transit will be provided by shuttle bus according to the following schedule:
Trains arriving to Madison from NY Penn Station will be met by shuttle bus to transport attendees to the Drew campus at 3:33 pm and at 5:35 pm. The bus to transport attendees to the Madison train station from Drew will depart at 8:30 pm for the 8:54 train to NY Penn Station.
Please consider attending the next IABS conference in Paris, 4-7 July 2016. Details below and at http://www.internationalassociationofbyronsocieties.org/index.php/conferences/conference-announcements/item/49-call-for-papers-42nd-international-byron-conference-in-paris.
In 1816, the weather in Europe was dramatically affected by ash flying high around the globe from the remote Tambora volcano in Indonesia, which had erupted the year before. That same year, Byron’s life was as troubled as the climate in Europe. After one year of restless marriage, Byron weathered a domestic storm which disrupted his life, triggered his eventual departure from England, and offered his readers, contemporary and future, a wealth of new poetic works.
Taking the opportunity presented by the bicentennial of the climatic disorders of 1816, ‘the Year without a Summer’, the 42nd international conference will explore Byron’s life and loves, from a triple viewpoint: personal, poetical, and climatic.
Proposals for papers on these and other aspects of Byron and climatic poetry are welcome.
Please send 250-word proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 14 February 2016 midnight.
Individual presentations must not exceed 20 minutes in length: if you are not sure it fits in the timeslot, please, rehearse!
Please note that in order to present a paper at the conference, speakers should be current members of a national Byron Society (like the Byron Society of America!).
Publishing, Editing, and Reception: Essays in Honor of Donald H. Reiman
Edited by Michael Edson
Table of Contents:
REMEMBERING DON REIMAN: THE PFORZHEIMER YEARS by Doucet Devin Fischer
INTRODUCTION by Michael Edson
Part 1: Romantic Publishing and Print Culture
- Byron’s House of Murray
Hermione de Almeida
- Hazlitt and Byron: With a New Look at The Liberal
Charles E. Robinson
- Mocking Monuments: The Regent’s Bomb, Satire, and Authority
Steven E. Jones
Part 2: New Perspectives on the Shelleys
- A Defence of Poetry and Adonais: Configurations
- Bound by Such a Chain: Shelley and Rhyme
- Reading Aloud in the Shelley Circle
Part 3: Romantic Bards and Modern Editors
- Indeterminacy and Method: Editing Byron’s Accidentals
- Getting Beyond “Mere Chatter about Shelley”
- “Editing Shelley” Again
Part 4: Shelley’s Afterlives
- Lady Shelley Trims the Flame
B. C. Barker-Benfield
- A Committee of One: Shelley’s Preemptive Self-Censorships in the Draft Manuscripts of Laon and Cythna and Legal Censorship of the Press
Michael J. Neth
- Shelley as Sussex Gentleman and Wild Motorist: The Strange Case of Kipling and Prometheus Unbound
It is with great sadness and fond memories that the Byron Society of America recognizes the death of Peter Cochran, one of the most visible and influential Byron scholars of the past decades. The author and editor of numerous books on Byron and his circle, Peter was also a generous supporter of younger scholars, a formidable interlocutor on all matters of Regency life and letters, a loyal attendee of the International Byron Conferences, and a great storyteller, singer, and actor. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
A Letter from Peter’s Daughters, Abi and Emily:
May 21, 2015
Dear Loved ones and Friends of Peter,
Our adorable dad Peter sadly but quite wonderfully died last night. It was as though he’d written and directed the whole scene in advance.
He had a brain hemorrhage on Monday morning, the Doctors said he’d probably just last a few hours. 60 hours later he finally expired.
He was unresponsive and barely moving apart from a labored breath, it seemed unlikely he could hear us or was aware of anything. We stayed with him almost the whole time and talked to him occasionally regardless. We played him poetry and music that we knew he loved.
On Wednesday evening we were exhausted and distressed. After a day of playing him the Ring Cycle (his favourite 9 hour opera) we decided to read him highlights from the large pile of messages and cards he’d been sent over the past couple of weeks. We told him how much he was appreciated and loved, how many people had been grateful for all his work, teachings, writing and help over the years – signs of a life well lived. That all the people he’d inspired with his love of drama and literature would go on to inspire others, that he’d live on in all his writing and his grandchildren who loved him too.
We put his headphones back on and noticed his eyes had welled up.
We told him again how much he was loved, that it was ok to let go now, not to worry about anything, that we’d look after each other and take care of his work. Just a moment later his breathing slowed dramatically and then stopped.
We are still stunned and the strength of his spirit, to hold on so long, and to let go at will. We’ve been deeply grateful for the messages sent from all over the world in these past days – it has been a great comfort to all of us to know how loved he was.
Feel free to share your memories of him, we’ll be adding photos and recent work to his website. Please feel free to share this message with friends of Peter.
We’ll be planning a memorial service in the coming months.
Thanks and Warm wishes,
Abi and Emily Cochran
The Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at the NYPL has recently acquired a photograph of a lost painting of the young Lord Byron, allegedly painted by the well-known portraitist Sir Henry Raeburn in 1805, when the poet at 17 years old.
The painting was seen briefly in the 1890s and was sold for $2000 in the early twentieth century to an anonymous buyer (via the dealer William Clausen, in the Salvador de Mendonca sale). It has since disappeared from view. This photograph, which was discovered in an album of Byroniana acquired by the Pforzheimer in 2014, is now our best witness to this compelling lost portrait of Lord Byron.
When he sat for this portrait, Byron would have just finished his term at Harrow or perhaps begun his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. He had become Lord Byron in 1798, but his poetic career was still ahead of him at this point. One sees the recognizable high forehead, curly hair, and wide collar that would become part of the signature Byronic look.
Some have cast doubt on the authenticity of the painting, as no record of Byron sitting for Raeburn seems to exist. However, Raeburn did paint a picture of the wife of Byron’s godfather, Mrs. Robert Duff, around this time. Anyone with more information about the painting is encouraged to contact us.
A rather poor copy of the painting was published in Byron the Poet, ed. Walter A. Briscoe (London, 1924):
It was also imperfectly copied for Munsey’s Magazine 17 (p. 332), as part of a report on the Mendonca sale of Byron relics.