A poet and his publisher.
Lord Byron’s relationship with his publisher John Murray II is a complex one because of their personal and professional homosociality.
Byron, like many other authors find it difficult when publishers or booksellers exploit their works without their approval whether it is for personal or professional gains such as publishing manuscripts, censoring or removing specific lines (such as the last line of Manfred) or simply underpaying the copyrights.
Arguably, Murray already ran a successful firm prior to publishing Byron’s Childe Harold cantos 1 and 2 in 1812; the business was already established and had rivals such as of Longman or Constable. The formation of the quarterly reviews also allowed Murray to advertise and be a “Patron of Literature” as Lord Byron calls him. Murray is a bold publisher because he took many chances with authors publishing controversial works like Byron’s Don Juan. Although the work [Don Juan] was first published anonymously, he tried to create the work as “Mysterious and enigmatic work” but the move was not very pleasing to Lord Byron.
The juxtaposition nemesis of a bookseller is the idea of publishing. The conflict is whether they are making money or making art, thus the paradox of personal intentions or business clashes together. Murray’s judgment of literature is seen through his choices of works published and is highly regarded as perspicacious due to his business knowledge of what is possible to sell or not.
Authorial exploitation may be inevitable due to the agency and hierarchy of the structure that makes up and separates authors from booksellers – with respect to individuals like the Romantic author and printmaker William Blake who mediated his stories and writings with drawing to help conceptualize his arguments.
Whether personal intentions looking after each others reputations or business related exploitations being money oriented or not allowing others to publish Byron’s work, Murray tried to save Byron’s reputation by burning of the memoirs in 1824 and gave no regards to finance when doing so.
The conflict of making art or selling books is an issue for authors like Lord Byron because it devalues their works and authorial intent, leaving booksellers like Murray exploit their works by being money oriented.