Some Other Being: The Autobiographical Phantom in Wordsworth and Byron
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I explore Wordsworth and Byron's use of a mediating "other Being," or a third-person narrative voice, that functions as a "guide" through their autobiographical texts. After establishing this poetic voice, both poets employ their "other Being" to navigate spaces of ruin. Founded on fragments of memory and experience, as well as mediatory gaps, the poetry of Wordsworth and Byron illuminates the autobiographical poet's struggle with textual self-representation and the sustention of a poetic subjectivity that often substitutes for the poet's own. Through the rhetorical device of prosopopoeia, Wordsworth and Byron find distinct ways to create a voice that will continue to "speak" for them in the lines of their text. While The Ruined Cottage represents a version of Wordsworth's understanding of breakdowns and poetic subjectivity, Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage III and IV push Wordsworth's boundaries even to their limits and turn the autobiographical "other Being" into a "tyrant spirit."