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The Wanderings of Cain, Edited by N. Santilli

* Byron, who had read Coleridge's verse fragment from The Wanderings of Cain during their correspondence in 1815,[#] published his own version of the biblical tale in his play, Cain: a mystery (1821). In Byron's play, Cain struggles angrily with perceived injustices, which leads him to murder his brother. The play proved to be controversial, and Byron had to defend it against attacks from both literary critics and the Law. On one hand, he was accused of writing sloppy blank verse that was more like prose. On the other hand, his publishers failed to be awarded an injunction against an influx of cheap pirated copies of the play. The presiding judge implied in his summing-up that the consequent loss of earnings should stand as punishment for the perceived blasphemies in the work.

Published @ RC

May 2003