Poet Lord George Byron reached his peak of fame in the early nineteenth century for his stories about the Near East. Until recently, his work was considered to be insular to his time, merely reflecting the interests of his time. However, modern scholars have revived interest in Byron through the lens of Orientalism, seeing how his work reflects ways in which Westerners create and control notions of race and identity. This work assesses three of Byron’s poems covering the Near East, coupled with several primary historical documents detailing his and other British travelers’ ventures into the Ottoman Empire. Both of these sources show that Byron complicates his portrayal of the East throughout time. While initially catering to Western expectations and audiences who have not visited the East, Byron later provides a more provocative and experimental portrayal of the East after the decline of Napoleon Buonaparte. This shift suggests that Western notions of Non-Western areas and peoples change in accordance with Western political stability, adjusting as needed to reflect a Western sense of order- -or lack thereof.

Note on the Author

Lucienne Quirk graduated with a degree in English and Secondary Education and a minor in History. Her research on Lord Byron was mentored by Dr. Halina Adams during the Adrian Tinsley Program summer research grant in 2022. Pursuing her passion, she plans to receive her graduate degree in English and later pursue a doctoral degree.

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