Staging Transcultural Relations: Early Nineteenth-Century British Drama and the Greek War of Independence


  • Alexander Grammatikos Langara College


Nineteenth-Century British Drama, Greek War of Independence, British Romantic Hellenism, Philhellenism, Lord Byron


This paper examines two British Romantic dramas written during the Greek War of Independence and its aftermath: George Burges’s The Son of Erin or the Cause of the Greeks (1823) and John Baldwin Buckstone’s The Maid of Athens; or, the Revolt of the Greeks (1829). The paper discusses the plays’ portrayals of transcultural interactions between Greeks and Europeans (Irish and British) and argues that the two dramas encourage audiences to see similarities between themselves and Greeks, while also critiquing British apathy toward the Greeks’ efforts to achieve liberation. Despite Burges’s and Buckstone’s shared support for the Greek war, however, an important difference between the two texts exists: while The Son of Erin maintains a relentless attack on the British government for aligning British politics with Ottoman policies and remaining indifferent toward the Greek war, The Maid of Athens suggests that Britons who take advantage of Greeks’ subjugation misrepresent Britain’s true feelings about the Greek War of Independence.