While Byron was by no means the prophet of apocalypse that his fellow Romantic poet William Blake was, Byron’s poetry nonetheless returns time and again to a “day of reckoning.” The most obvious example of this theme is “Darkness,” a vision of a future earth nearly devoid of life and populated by creatures no longer human. More subtly, Byron insisted that the leaders of oppressive civilizations and the men who would destroy the works of the past would face their own days of judgment. This day would be hastened by Byron, who cast aspersions upon their characters in his writings, such as he did with Lord Elgin and Napoleon.
The book made Mrs Stowe an international celebrity and a hated figure in the South. In 1853 she published A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a non-fiction riposte to critics who accused her of exaggerating slavery’s cruelties. On a tour of Britain she made friends among the great and good, was cheered at anti-slavery meetings and collected ample donations for the cause. Returning home, she published another anti-slavery novel in 1856, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. Later came more novels as well as children’s stories and religious poetry, and she helped to found the prestigious Atlantic Monthly magazine, to which she contributed a regular column on household matters, undeterred by her husband’s complaints about her domestic incompetence. Later she took up feminist causes, writing to George Eliot that the emancipation of slaves must be followed by the emancipation of women. She was a friend of Lady Byron and in 1869 she published in Atlantic Monthly ‘The True Story of Lady Byron’s Life’, an attack on female sexual slavery in which, blushing but determined, she wrote openly of Byron’s incest with his half-sister. She followed up with a book, Lady Byron Vindicated, in the following year. She was denounced as a pornographer and deluged with torrents of abuse in the press, while Atlantic Monthly lost 15,000 outraged subscribers and was almost destroyed. Her reputation was shattered, but she published three more novels before her death in 1896.