Susan Oliver's innovative study explores Scott's and Byron's poetical engagements with borders, actual and metaphorical, and with the people living on and around them. These influential poets' fascination with the 'strangeness' of social structures and with cultural difference is illumined through comparative readings of Scott's collected ballads and narrative poetry, together with Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, his Eastern Tales and his late, utopian South-Sea poem The Island. Discussion of a prolific range of literary, intellectual, and sociological influences emphasizes the enlightenment background to early-nineteenth-century anxieties over cultural instability arising from revolution, war and social change. Exemplary readings show how Scott addressed radical and anti-radical activity in Britain, along with fears of invasion, through his representations of older, feudal and clan systems, and how Byron responded within poetic figurations of contested boundaries from southern Europe and North Africa, through the Near East and beyond. Intriguing exegeses and assiduous scholarship make this a compelling book for academics and the interested, general reader.