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Lord Byron: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – November 15, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Editor:
Jerome J. McGann is Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the Romantic period, including Towards a Literature of Knowledge and the Oxford Authors Byron.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 1080 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (November 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953733X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537334
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 2.3 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I generally prefer the Oxford World's Classics series to Penguin's editions of the same works and authors. Why? Because Oxford boasts better (thicker) paper, better fonts, better printing, better covers, usually better notes and better introductions... Oxford just seems to present an overall better product at roughly equivalent prices. But Oxford made a crucial mistake in their edition of Lord Byron: The Major Works--they didn't give Don Juan a separate volume. The effect of stuffing Don Juan into this volume means that the book is conflated to an unwieldy 1100+ pages, and several of Byron's key poems are either omitted or severely abridged (like Lara and The Corsair). Here, they really should've followed Penguin's lead in creating separate volumes for Don Juan and another for Byron's other poetry. But it's even worse when one considers that the Oxford contains a sampling of Byron's prose. So after you subtract the pages for Don Juan and the prose, you're left with only about 470 pages of Byron's other poetry in compared to Penguin's 780.

Now, granted, perhaps what's available here in the Oxford Edition will be enough for many readers, and it does still provide its usual advantages in paper, printing, font, notes, and intros. Byron was incredibly prolific, but like most prolific poets he tended to produce more bad poetry than good/great poetry. It's just a numbers thing; writing great poetry takes time and attention to small details. It's why it took Milton years to write Paradise Lost at a rate of 40-or-so lines a day. Every detail had to be worked out. At Byron's best he was as good as anybody, and his skill combined with his unique philosophical worldview makes him endlessly provocative, compelling, and readable, even at his worst.
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Format: Paperback
All passion, intensity and fire, Byron cuts a swathe through the Regency era's lights, literature and ladies. He does so in a style that is the most beautiful and high prose you will ever read; magnificent curving arcs of words that could have come straight from the proud mouth of an archangel (or Lucifer himself). Of course, he occasionally descends into petty back-stabbing, misogyny and generally seems to be a bit of a spoilt child with too much time on his hands, but you can forgive him that just for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage alone.

This book claims to contain most of Lord Byron's major works and it certainly is a full volume, weighing in at over 1000 pages in paperback format. The larger works include the above-mentioned Pilgrimage and Don Juan. These take up at least 700 pages themselves. The remaining space is occupied by Manfred - a rather Nietzschean work about a magician; the Giaour - a tale of unrepentant love and loss; Mazeppa - a story of a man whose fortunes fall and rise dramatically; Beppo - a Venetian affaire de cour; Cain - an intense retelling of the biblical tale with Manichean overtones, and assorted shorter poems. There are also fifty pages of assorted correspondence with various individuals. The book comes equipped with a very short introduction (for a book of 1000 pages), a chronology of Byron's life, an index and end notes. There is very little in the way of explanation of why pieces are included and the end notes are mostly helpful but often explain the obvious while leaving the obscure, obscure. If you like books that contain no analysis, this is for you, but if you want things explained you will do better with something else.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The text is nice enough but I guess you get what you pay for and there is no way the books ultra cheep constructions gets you through its 1120 pages... just like the other two Oxford World Press books I ordered with this one. Really, $0.08 more a book to put a sturdy cover on it please?!?!?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The edition is fine, paper good enough to scribble in the margins, the binding surprising sturdy for someone planning a read through the major works. What was disappointing was that the notes--as notes are of varying importance--were in the back. Lots of flipping back and forth, and (I must confess) sometimes disappointing for someone with the reputation of J. McGann.
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Format: Paperback
The book-length Penguin of "Don Juan" doubtless has fuller notes, but its editors' liberties with punctuation make McGann's text in this Oxford edition indispensable. The Penguin assumes Byron didn't know how to punctuate, and revises accordingly. I decided to buy this volume when I read canto I, verse 221, in the Penguin and found the exclamation point at "still gentler purchaser!" gone. Feeling in DJ has it over sense -- thou shalt not read "Don Juan" for its plot! -- and McGann lets Byron be Byron, rather than correct him like a schoolboy. Buy this one (and the Penguin selected verse, if your thirst be not slaked).
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Lord Byron is perhaps the greatest poet of all time and one of the most provocative individuals to have strode this planet. This is a well chosen sample of his greatest works along with some correspondence and commentary. Perhaps the best attribute of this volume is it's annotation, both that of Byron himself and of the collection's editor. Much of Byron's work contains now obscure historical references, as well as vocabulary no longer in common use, making the 'footnotes' invaluable. My only gripe is that this annotation is located either at the end of each work (if by Byron) or in the appendices (if by the editor), requiring the reader to bookmark both sections then constantly flip back and forth between them and the text.
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