In life and art, Lord Byron (1788-1823) sought sensation: affairs with men and women, writing, partying, sightseeing, sailing off (in middle age) to fight for Greece, and boxing. Spinning restlessly through intersecting worlds, Byron explores a question we still face: can athletic pursuits be a way of seeking what Plato would call the form of the good, for individuals and societies? When she trained at a South London boxing gym, Dr. Weldon got a taste of what Byron might have found in this sport – and how he might be a guide for all of us through our own era of smartphone-centered ennui and ambient uncertainty as we try, despite the odds, to feel something real.
Bio: Amy Weldon, Professor of English at Luther College, is the author of four books, most recently Advanced Fiction: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology, and codirector of the Luther College Writers Festival. Her website is amyeweldon.com. This talk is drawn from her nonfiction book-in-progress, A Thing of Beauty: Reading the Romantics in a World on Fire.
This lecture is the first in the 2023-24 Paideia Texts and Issues Lecture Series, “Uncommon Research for the Common Good”