He followed up his first literary success by publishing during the next four years his brief and vigorous metrical romances, most of them Eastern in setting, 'The Giaour
' (pronounced by Byron 'Jower'), 'The Bride of Abydos,' 'The Corsair,' 'Lara,' 'The Siege of Corinth,' and 'Parisina.' These were composed not only with remarkable facility but in the utmost haste, sometimes a whole poem in only a few days and sometimes in odds and ends of time snatched from social diversions.
(25) Although EBB translated Theocritus' "The Cyclops" (CW, 6:140-143), her allusion to "Polypheme" in Sonnet XL is immediately preceded by the mention of Mussulmans and Giaours, archaic words meaning Muslims and Christians respectively, references which suggest other influences besides the Greek.
"giaours." http://www.oed.com (Accessed January 10, 2006).
That is why Katinka, for example, always dreams of men, and sees ghosts of Giaours "upon each of the four posts" of the Oda:
From another perspective, Leila's rescue in Don Juan contrasts sharply with Leila's drowning in "The Giaour." In fact, Blackstone establishes a significant link between the two episodes.
The Giaour is Byron's sustained and deeply sensitive meditation on the politics of oriental representation.
(3), Thus, Byron's The Giaour is a "text of Romantic Orientalism [that] must therefore be read as part of the cultural apparatus whereby the Orient is contained and represented by ideological frameworks that serve both to incite confrontation and to seal off contestation within the larger structures of imperial history." (4) Developments in the study of Romantic imperialism within the last two decades, however, have complicated Said's excessively rigid binary structure, highlighting the insecurities and ambivalences that haunt the discourses of empire.
I suggest that The Giaour at once articulates and alleviates that moral ambivalence through recourse to the gothic mode, employing gothic's aesthetic strategies in order to present the poem's own critical perspective toward its oriental materials.
Reading The Giaour not just as orientalist or gothic, but a discursive hybrid of the two, can thus clarify the vexed nature of Byron's implication within the politics of representation.
(15) The first of his oriental poems, The Giaour, was composed, published, and subsequently (and repeatedly) added to between 1812 and 1813.
Indeed, The Giaour delivers a ringing condemnation of European and Ottoman projects of empire through the portrayal of a world that is steeped in violence, which shadows the path of each character and infects every link in the narrative.
Take, for example, the battle between Hassan and the Giaour in the valley of Mount Parnassus.