Second-generation romantic poetry 1: Hunt, Byron, Moore

Jane Stabler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


In 1818 Byron was discomforted to find himself grouped by the Quarterly Review with ‘men of the most opposite habits, tastes, and opinions in life and poetry … Moore, Byron, Shelley, Hazlitt, Haydon, Leigh Hunt, Lamb – what resemblance do ye find among all or any of these men?’ Byron asked John Murray, ‘and how could any sort of system or plan be carried on, or attempted amongst them?’ Byron’s outrage was, as usual, slightly disingenuous. His own youthful poetic career had been inspired by reading Thomas Moore and Leigh Hunt and his friendship with them both meant that not only had he been trusted to make editorial suggestions on the manuscript of Hunt’s The Story of Rimini in 1813 (which was dedicated to him), but also that by 1818 he had already contemplated several collaborative writing enterprises with Thomas Moore. In 1812, Moore had written to Byron: ‘I have a most immortalizing scheme to propose to you … You & I shall write Epistles to each other – in all measures and all styles upon all possible subjects … in short do every thing that the mixture of fun philosophy there is in both of us can inspire.’ In 1815, Byron proposed a trip to Italy and Greece with Moore and in 1817 suggested that they compose ‘canticles’ together. Byron dedicated The Corsair (1814) to Moore; Moore dedicated Fables for the Holy Alliance (1823) to Byron. In 1822 Byron would join the production of the Liberal with Shelley, Hazlitt and Hunt after floating vague earlier schemes of a newspaper with Moore. Byron remained reluctant, however, to commit himself to any joint venture in the long term and the Tory press was gleefully aware that both Hunt and Moore viewed Byron’s literary relationships with each other as undesirable. Moore advised Byron to steer clear of the Liberal partnership; Byron said that he remained in it only to help Hunt out of a corner, but Moore did not quite trust Byron not to drag him in too and wrote to John Hunt specifically to request that any satirical poems that might have been included in letters from Moore to Byron should not find their way into the new journal through Byron’s sense of ‘fun’.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of English Poetry
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781139094924
ISBN (Print)9780521883061
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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