More than 70 scholars and stu­dents of Romantic poet Lord Byron con­vened at North­eastern this week for the 36th Inter­na­tional Byron Conference—an oppor­tu­nity, said Eng­lish pro­fessor Stuart Peter­freund, to recon­nect with col­leagues and friends and ana­lyze the cur­rent state of Byron studies.

Among those pre­senting at the con­fer­ence was Peter W. Graham, pres­i­dent of the Byron Society of America and the Cutchins Pro­fessor of Eng­lish at Vir­ginia Tech, who addressed Byron’s con­tinued rel­e­vancy in a dis­tinctly non-​​Romantic age.

Graham noted that Byron’s unfin­ished poem, “Don Juan,” would con­tinue to draw the interest of future generations.

The epic poem is widely con­sid­ered Byron’s greatest achieve­ment, and Graham said it sets Bryon apart from other Roman­tics by ele­vating him above the cat­e­gory. The satir­ical work is “always and hon­estly a human poem” that is top­ical as well as tran­scen­dent, he said.

Graham also men­tioned that the height­ened acces­si­bility of Byron’s works through the Internet and other dig­ital sources would expose the poet to a wider audience.

Other panel topics included Byron’s influ­ences, his effect on later poets, and com­par­isons between his work and the Bible.

North­eastern and the Houghton Library at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity co-​​hosted the con­fer­ence, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the sponsor, the Byron Society of America. Titled “Byron and the Book,” the con­fer­ence drew par­tic­i­pants from around the world, ranging from grad­uate stu­dents in lit­er­a­ture to world-​​renowned Byron scholars.

This year marked only the third time the con­fer­ence was hosted in the United States, and the first time since 2001.

Mary Loef­fel­holz, Northeastern’s vice provost for aca­d­emic affairs, offered wel­coming remarks at the Alumni Center. She noted that an envi­ron­ment alive with “archives, museums, per­for­mance bases, schol­arly col­leagues, and artistic col­lab­o­ra­tors,” com­bined with Northeastern’s approach to the human­i­ties and arts, which stresses local and global part­ner­ships, would lend power to the conference.

Peter­freund, an orga­nizer of the event, rec­og­nized Eng­lish Depart­ment chair and asso­ciate pro­fessor Laura Green, Georges Van Den Abbeele, founding dean of the new Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, and Bruce Ronkin, interim dean of the former Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences, for their work in helping North­eastern co-​​host the conference.