"Like the sheeted fire from heaven"
transcendence and resentment in Marino Faliero
Doubtless as a result of his personal transit through the vortex of celebrity, Lord Byron was acutely aware of the operation of what René Girard would later call imitative or triangular desire.1 By the time he turned to writing tragedies in 1820 and 1821, the poet's understanding of imitative processes—in their individual, social, and political dimensions—had matured. His late plays are a highly qualified observer's fullest meditation on the powers and dangers of the phase of mimetic desire we may call resentment, of which the foremost modern theorist is Girard's leading intellectual heir, Eric Gans. To explore human desire and the ways in which social structure and indeed culture itself accommodate it—or fail to—is to ask questions sufficiently fundamental to justify the use of the term "anthropological," and the invocation of the two modern thinkers just mentioned.2 Such at any rate is the premise of the current essay, which will look closely at the presentation of the very basic problem of human resentment in the first of these works, Marino Faliero.
Dennis, I. (2011)., "Like the sheeted fire from heaven": transcendence and resentment in Marino Faliero, in M. J. A. Green & P. Pal-Lapinski (eds.), Byron and the politics of freedom and terror, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 118-135.
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