Shelley, Percy Bysshe (Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)
Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822
(Also wrote under pseudonyms of Victor and The Hermit of Marlow.) English poet, essayist, playwrite, translator, and novelist. The following entry presents recent criticism of Shelley. See also, The Cenci Criticism.
Shelley is regarded as a major English Romantic poet. His foremost works, including Prometheus Unbound, Adonais, The Revolt of Islam, and The Triumph of Life, are recognized as leading expressions of radical thought written during the Romantic age, while his odes and shorter lyrics are often considered among the greatest in the English language. In addition, his essay A Defence of Poetry is highly valued as a statement on the moral importance of poetry and of poets, whom he calls “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” While Shelley's significance to English literature is today widely acknowledged, he was one of the most controversial literary figures of the early nineteenth century.
Shelley was born the eldest son of Sir Timothy and Elizabeth Shelley, landed aristocrats living in Horsham, Sussex. He was educated first at Syon House Academy, then Eton, and finally University College, Oxford. Before the age of twenty he had published two Gothic novels, Zastrozzi (1810) and St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian (1811), and two collections of verse, Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire (1810), written with his sister, and Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholsen (1810), coauthored with his Oxford friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg. Shelley's 1811 publication of The Necessity of Atheism caused him to be expelled from Oxford, an event that estranged him from his family and left him without financial means. Nonetheless, later that year he eloped to Scotland with Harriet Westbrook, a sixteen-year-old schoolmate of his sister. For the next three years Shelley was actively involved in political and social reform in Ireland and Wales, writing radical pamphlets in which he set forth his views on liberty, equality, and justice. The year 1814 was a pivotal one in Shelley's personal life. Although their marriage was faltering, he remarried Harriet in England to ensure the legality of their union and the legitimacy of their children. Weeks later, however, he fell in love with Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the radical English philosopher William Godwin and his first wife, the feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft. Shelley and Mary eloped in Europe, and upon their return continued to live together, though Shelley provided for Harriet and his two children. In the summer of 1816 Shelley traveled to Lake Geneva to meet with Lord Byron. The two men developed an enduring friendship that proved an important influence on the work of both men. Shortly after Shelley's return to England in the fall, Harriet drowned herself in Hyde Park. Shelley subsequently sought custody of his children, but the Westbrook family successfully blocked him in a lengthy lawsuit. After a brief residence at Marlow in 1817, during which he enjoyed the company of Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock, John Keats, and other literary figures, Shelley relocated his family to Italy. There they moved frequently, spending time in Leghorn, Venice, Naples, Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Lerici. The years in Italy were productive for Shelley, and saw the publication of many of his greatest works of poetry. Shortly before his thirtieth birthday Shelley and a friend, Edward Williams, drowned when their boat capsized in a squall off the coast of Lerici. Shelley's body was cremated on the beach in a ceremony conducted by his friends Byron, Hunt, and Edward John Trelawny. His ashes were subsequently buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome.
Much of Shelley's writing reflects the events and concerns of his life. His passionate belief in reform, the equality of the sexes, and the powers of love and imagination are frequently expressed in his poetry. Shelley's first mature work, Queen Mab, was printed in 1813, but not distributed due to its inflammatory subject matter. In it Shelley denounced established society and religion in favor of free love and atheism. The visionary and sometimes autobiographical poem Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude (1816) describes the experiences of the Poet who, rejecting human sympathy and domestic life, is pursued by the demon Solitude. An imaginative account of a bloodless revolution led by a brother and sister, Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century (1818) deals with the positive power of love, the complexities of good and evil, and ultimately, a spiritual victory through martyrdom. The subsequently revised edition of the work as The Revolt of Islam minimized its elements of incest and political revolution. The verse drama Prometheus Unbound (1820) combines myth, political allegory, psychology, and theology. In the work Shelley transformed the Aeschylean myth of Prometheus, the fire-giver, into an allegory on the origins of evil and the possibility of regenerating nature and humanity through love. Shelley based The Cenci on the history of a sixteenth-century Italian noble family. After the evil Count Cenci rapes his daughter, Beatrice, she determines to murder him, seeing no other means of escape from continued violation, and is executed for parricide. Drawing on the formal tradition of elegiac verse, Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats (1821) laments Keats's early death and, while rejecting the Christian view of resurrection, describes his return to the eternal beauty of the universe. Epipsychidion (1821) chronicles Shelley's search for ideal beauty through his relationships with women. Among his shorter poems, the “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and “Mont Blanc” focus on Shelley's belief in an animating spirit, while “Ode to the West Wind” examines opposing forces in nature. “Ode to Liberty,” “Sonnet: England in 1819,” and The Masque of Anarchy feature several of his most enduring political themes. Shelley's last work, The Triumph of Life, left unfinished at his death, describes the relentless march of life that has destroyed the aspirations of all but the sacred few who refused to compromise to worldly pressures.
The history of Shelley's critical reputation has been characterized by radical shifts. During his lifetime he was generally viewed as a misguided or even depraved genius; critics frequently praised portions of his poetry in passing and deplored at length his atheism and unorthodox philosophy. Nevertheless, Shelley was known and admired by his great contemporaries; Byron, Keats, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey regarded his works with varying degrees of sympathy and approval. Shelley was regarded as the prototype of the misunderstood poetic genius during the Victorian era, while serious interest in his works began to revive in the late 1930s as scholars came to recognize the complexity of his style, philosophy, and major themes. In examining his style commentators have generally focused on his imagery, use of language, and technical achievements. The importance of neo-platonism, the occult, the Bible, the French Revolution, and Gothicism, as well as the works of individual philosophers—Wollstonecraft, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Godwin—to Shelley's thought and writing has been explored by other critics. Attention has also been devoted to recurring themes in Shelley's work. His doctrines of free love and sexual equality have particularly attracted commentary on the poet. Recent criticism of Shelley's works has generally been marked by increasing respect for his abilities as a poet and his surprisingly modern philosophy. Overall, Shelley remains a central figure in English Romanticism. His major works are respected as challenging credos of revolutionary philosophy, and his odes and shorter lyrics are widely known for their stylistic mastery. Furthermore, his Defence of Poetry stands as a powerful statement of the Romantic ideal of art and the artist.
Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire [as Victor, with Elizabeth Shelley] (poetry) 1810
Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholsen [with Thomas Jefferson Hogg] (poetry) 1810
Zastrozzi (novel) 1810
The Necessity of Atheism (essay) 1811
St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian (novel) 1811
An Address to the Irish People (essay) 1812
A Declaration of Rights (essay) 1812
Queen Mab (poetry) 1813
A Refutation of Deism (dialogue) 1814
Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude, and Other Poems (poetry) 1816
An Address to the People on the Death of Princess Charlotte [as The Hermit of Marlow] (essay) 1817
A Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote [as The Hermit of Marlow] (essay) 1817
“Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” (poetry) 1817
Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century [also published in revised form as The Revolt of Islam] (poetry) 1818
The Cenci (verse drama) 1819
Rosalind and Helen: A Modern Eclogue, with Other Poems (poetry) 1819
Prometheus Unbound, with Other Poems (verse drama and poetry) 1820
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SOURCE: “‘Mont Blanc’ and Prometheus Unbound: Shelley's Use of the Rhetoric of Silence,” in Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. XXXVIII, 1989, pp. 103-26.
[In the following essay, Pierce studies the workings of silence, signification, and absence in “Mont Blanc” and Prometheus Unbound.]
“Nothing.” The pivotal moment in King Lear which initiates its tragic action begins from this word. In this “Nothing” the stark contrast of two views of the unspoken word meet. Lear asks his favorite daughter, Cordelia, to express her love for him that she may draw a third of his kingdom “more opulent than your sisters” (1.i.86).1 Her reply, “Nothing,” and its ensuing silence evoke Lear's rage, since he believes that “Nothing will come of nothing” (1.i.90). Yet in an aside she states “my love's / More opulent than my tongue” (1.i.77-78), and argues that she cannot, like her sisters, “heave / My heart into my mouth” (1.i.91-92) and quantify emotions that cannot be measured. The crucial distinction arising between these two types of silence is like that made by Wallace Stevens in “The Snow Man” between the nothing that is there and the nothing that is not. Like Stevens, Shelley draws on the perceiving mind as a measure of the value of absences, and in many ways Shelley's struggle between optimism and pessimism is reflected in his use of these two aspects of...
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SOURCE: “Beatrice Cenci and the Tragic Myth of History,” in History & Myth: Essays on English Romantic Literature, edited by Stephen C. Behrendt, Wayne State University Press, 1990, pp. 214-34.
[In the following essay, Behrendt explores the political theme and moral crisis depicted in Shelley's verse drama The Cenci.]
History and myth converge in Shelley's deeply political tragedy The Cenci, whose compelling protagonist, Beatrice Cenci, dramatically embodies that crisis which occurs in human affairs when an intolerable situation of perceived injustice and oppression appears to offer no viable legitimized options for action. Voicing the instinctive desire for relief, the individual trapped in such a dilemma naturally responds, as Beatrice does, that “something must be done” (III, i, 86), and The Cenci records the nature and consequences of Beatrice's decision about just what is to be done. The Cenci is a play about revolution, and about the insidious combination of circumstances that engender it. Shelley's tragedy anatomizes a world ripe for the revolution that necessarily occurs, portraying the “sad reality”1 of a moral, social, and political universe in which the ethical foundations of human institutions are undermined at their most primary level: that of the family unit itself. A familiar metaphor for political relations,2 the family and its...
(The entire section is 8388 words.)
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SOURCE: “The Bifurcated Female Space of Desire: Shelley's Confrontation with Language and Silence,” in Out of Bounds: Male Writers and Gender(ed) Criticism, edited by Laura Claridge and Elizabeth Langland, University of Massachusetts Press, 1990, pp. 92-109.
[In the following essay, Claridge investigates Shelley's use of a female poetic voice in Alastor, The Cenci, and Epipsychidion.]
In The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope sets out to rape Belinda/Arabella of her threatening excess of meaning—the artifice out of which she creates herself—and to make her into a virgin, a blank page. Paradoxically, that is, accession to eighteenth-century male society will “virginalize” her, the female equivalent in this poem to the castration that Pope fears to be the potential of the art-full female. Such a dangerous creature explodes beyond the law, beyond the word, and she embodies a jouissance capable of taking its pleasures in a lapdog or a husband—the differences notwithstanding. Popean, or conservative, fear suggests the male Augustan writer's tendency to bring the woman back within the law, to achieve comedic endings.1 The canonized British Romantic poets, however, attempt by and large to use this mythical unbridled female power as a space that engenders authentic poetic voice, a method that allowed for the enabling literary illusion that the male poet could pass over...
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SOURCE: “Out of the Veil of Ignorance: Agency and the Mirror of Disillusionment,” in Southern Humanities Review, Vol. XXV, No. 1, Winter, 1991, pp. 1-21.
[In the following essay, Dunn examines Alastor as “a study in moral agency.”]
Following Shelley's lead in his preface to the poem, I propose to read Alastor as a study in moral agency. This may sound surprising since the poem is often criticized for its solipsism or, worse, for displaying the symptoms of pathological narcissism. However, the apparent pathology of Alastor's narrator and of the visionary poet he describes stems from a moral dilemma which Shelley inherits from moral philosophers like his mentor Godwin and from the poetry of Wordsworth. As the poem illustrates, the dilemma is precipitated by the way in which both empiricist and rationalist systems of morality fail to mediate the particularity of individual desire, by their inability to universalize the subject and thus to fulfill the Enlightenment dream which gave them birth. Alastor documents this failure. It also suggests that for the self-conscious subject the resulting disillusionment is a constitutive and not an accidental feature of moral agency. While Shelley's preface holds open the possibility that some individuals may find moral community through a natural (and implicitly unreflective) sympathy, the real choice seems to be between...
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SOURCE: “‘The Dark Idolatry of Self’: The Dialectic of Imagination in Shelley's Revolt of Islam,” in Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. XL, 1991, pp. 73-98.
[In the following essay, Richardson characterizes The Revolt of Islam as “a profoundly dialectical treatment of heroism and imagination.”]
The Revolt of Islam is, paradoxically, both Shelley's longest and least anthologized poem. It has numerous aesthetic infelicities that partly explain this neglect, notably Shelley's choice of Southeyan romance as a genre. But the most frequent and serious criticism levelled at the poem is that it contains a fundamental thematic weakness. Although in recent years interpreters of the poem have demonstrated that its structure is much more subtle and unified than had previously been thought,1 many readers still dismiss the poem on the grounds that the education of the near-perfect hero and heroine provides no satisfactory model for the revolutionary regeneration of humanity the heroes attempt to bring about.
Several interpreters recognize that Laon and Cythna are less than perfect at the outset of the poem; the two go through a process of initiation in which they discover their own susceptibility to evil, when Cythna is abducted and Laon violates his belief in nonviolence trying to save her. However, these interpreters also suggest that once the Hermit teaches...
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SOURCE: “‘And All Things Seem Only One’: The Shelleyan Lyric,” in Percy Bysshe Shelley: Bicentenary Essays, edited by Kelvin Everest, D. S. Brewer, 1992, pp. 115-31.
[In the following essay, O’Neill surveys the complex character of Shelley's lyric poetry.]
‘It is only when under the overruling influence of some one state of feeling, either actually experienced, or summoned up in almost the vividness of reality by a fervid imagination, that he writes as a great poet’.1 J. S. Mill's observation about Shelley, which he thought held particularly true of the poet's ‘lyrical poems’,2 may seem to be borne out by the ‘fervid’ intensity of poems such as ‘O World, O Life, O Time’ or ‘The Flower That Smiles Today’. But in both these late pieces the poet's ‘labour of simplification’3 does not exclude complication or nuance. In the latter poem image and abstraction combine suggestively, inviting speculation about experiences to which its mood might apply: failure in personal relations, the collapse of political ideals, and metaphysical scepticism are all candidates.4 Moreover, Shelley ironically contravenes generic expectations. These stem from the lyric's emphasis on transience, which appears, misleadingly, to herald advice to ‘Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may’. If the opening lines, ‘The flower that smiles...
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SOURCE: “Prometheus Unbound, or Discourse and Its Other,” in Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. XLII, 1993, pp. 128-41.
[In the following essay, Berthin approaches Prometheus Unbound as a figural and revolutionary text.]
Besides literal meanings, poetry generates lateral meanings, by-products which spoil the perfection of the linguistic system. The verbal order is constantly undermined by visual or musical patterns that, anamorphically, dislocate and relocate the political message of the text.
“Didactic poetry is my abhorrence; nothing can be equally well expressed in prose that is not tedious and supererogatory in verse.”1 At the threshold of Prometheus Unbound, Shelley's warning is clear: born of a “passion for reforming the world,” the poem cannot be limited to a “reasoned system on the theory of human life” (p. 135). Its pragmatic efficacy, that is, the extent to which the work of art leads to action, does not lie only in its overt and legible message.
How then can “poetry act to produce the moral improvement of man,” as Shelley puts it in the “Defence of Poetry” (p. 488)? That the answer to the central issue of the revolutionary vocation of poetry lies outside of its directly recognizable message clearly appears in the “closing” statements of the incomplete “Defence of Poetry:” “Poets are the hierophants...
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SOURCE: “Baffled Narrative in Julian and Maddalo,” in New Romanticisms: Theory and Critical Practice, University of Toronto Press, 1994, pp. 52-68.
[In the following essay, Wall focuses on the dynamics of narrative suppression in Shelley's poem Julian and Maddalo.]
I rode one evening with Count Maddalo Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow Of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand Of hillocks, heaped from ever-shifting sand …
Is this …
(ll. 1-4, 7)
Thus begins Shelley's Julian and Maddalo. The dichotomy between Julian's simultaneous freedom of movement—on horseback with his powerful Byronic friend the count—and his situation at a point of interruption—on ‘the bank of land which breaks the flow / Of Adria towards Venice’—prefigures the poem's shifting narrative sands.
The poem's subtitle, ‘A Conversation,’ appears to refer to that held between Maddalo and Julian as they ride on the Lido. The ride and the conversation share a certain freedom of movement: ‘So, as we rode, we talked; and the swift thought, / Winging itself with laughter, lingered not, / But flew from brain to brain’ (ll. 28-30). The men speak ‘Of all that earth has been or yet may be, / All that vain men imagine or believe, / Or hope can paint or suffering may achieve’ (ll. 43-5). Julian, the...
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SOURCE: “The Indeterminacy of Shelley's Adonais: Liberation and Destruction,” in The Keats-Shelley Review, No. 9, Spring, 1995, pp. 15-36.
[In the following essay, Magarian analyzes Adonais, and considers its ambivalent confrontation with the problem of death.]
Adonias's (1821) treatment of death makes the poem peculiarly provisional in terms of its emotional and intellectual outlook. The subject of death is initially one that fosters a mood of consolatory lamentation. It ends by precipitating and pressing forward a view of imaginative and spiritual liberation. The latter view is intimately connected with the glimpse the poem offers at the end of a higher vision that apparently signals a harmonious union with Adonais while also suggesting a demonic force that, in itself, is at odds with harmony. Such duality, both in the fact of the changing perceptions of death that the poem offers, and in the simultaneously harmonious and demonic vision of life beyond the grave, accounts for the poem's difficulty. The poem, like all pastoral elegies, begins by grieving for the loss of a life but ends, unlike other elegies, by grieving for life itself and insisting on the need to get beyond its distorting veil (‘Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, / Stains the white radiance of Eternity’ (462-3)). It, like The Triumph of Life (1822), conveys a sense of life as the progenitor of...
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SOURCE: “The Seashore's Path: Shelley and the Allegorical Imperative,” in Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 34, No. 1, Spring, 1995, pp. 51-79.
[In the following essay, White probes the didactic/allegorical quality of Shelley's works.]
Throughout Shelley's poetic career, his writings reflect on, engage with, and struggle against a particular mode of that discursive predicament more generally called allegory: didacticism. For Shelley, the ethical dimensions of poetry should reach beyond particular referential effects—the empirically determined moralities of time and place—the better to encompass the source that grounds them. In classic romantic fashion he names that source imagination. The position is articulated in the preface to Prometheus Unbound:
… it is a mistake to suppose that I dedicate my poetical compositions solely to the direct enforcement of reform, or that I consider them in any degree as containing a reasoned system on the theory of human life. Didactic poetry is my abhorrence; nothing can be equally well expressed in prose that is not tedious and supererogatory in verse. My purpose has hitherto been simply to familiarize the highly refined imagination of the more select classes of poetical readers with beautiful idealisms of moral excellence; aware that until the mind can love, and admire, and trust, and hope, and endure, reasoned principles...
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SOURCE: Introduction to The Vision of “Love's Rare Universe”: A Study of Shelley's Epipsychidion, University Press of America, Inc., 1995, pp. 1-12.
[In the following introduction to a full-length interpretation of Shelley's Epipsychidion, Verma evaluates the poem in the context of Shelley's theory of the imagination.]
I am the eye with which the Universe Beholds itself and knows it is divine; All harmony of instrument or verse, All prophecy, all medicine is mine, All light of art or nature;—to my song Victory and praise in its own right belong.
“Hymn of Apollo”
Epipsychidion, written in 1821, is a product of Shelley's mature years. Following the composition of his earlier poems, Shelley's thought had exhibited a rapid and dramatic growth, especially in terms of its capacity, power and magnitude. Prometheus Unbound and Epipsychidion, remarks Ghose, “show this turn of his [Shelley's] genius at its height; they are two of the three greatest things he has left to us on the larger scale.”1 The latter Shelley had been thinking about the possibility of writing his own Symposium and Vita Nuova. He had recently translated Plato's Symposium, and was keenly aware of the poetic necessity of “a systematic form” that The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost had...
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SOURCE: “Shelley's The Cenci: Moral Ambivalence and Self-Knowledge,” in Keats-Shelley Review, No. 10, Spring, 1996, pp. 181-203.
[In the following essay, Magarian highlights themes of moral indeterminacy and self-knowledge in The Cenci.]
Shelley's play The Cenci (1819) has, at its heart, a journey into the centre of the human psyche which precipitates its heroine's fall from grace into moral and emotional myopia. During this journey some of the deepest of human fears are revealed in the person of Beatrice as she is conducted towards the ‘darkness of the abyss’, as Shelley puts it in the Preface to the play.1 In this respect the play shares with the earlier Julian and Maddalo (1819) a similar insistence on the nature of what is psychologically disruptive. The Maniac of that poem is presented to the reader in a state of indistinct and fluctuating mental equilibrium. The changing states of his mind are vividly portrayed. Similarly, Beatrice's internal make-up, with all its susceptibility to change and disruption, is what Shelley asks the reader to latch onto in his play. It is my purpose in this essay to undertake a close reading which will illustrate the way the play draws the reader into a complicitous relationship with it. Such a relationship allows for the creation of moral and emotional ambiguities that Shelley refuses to resolve for...
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SOURCE: “The Genre and Politics of Shelley's Swellfoot the Tyrant,” in The Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVII, No. 188, November, 1996, pp. 500-20.
[In the following essay, Erkelenz views Shelley's Swellfoot the Tyrant as both an adaptation of Aristophanes's work and a critique of contemporaneous British politics.]
In her well-known note on Oedipus Tyrannus; Or Swellfoot the Tyrant, Mary Shelley describes how Percy Shelley first came to conceive of the poem. While reading aloud the ‘Ode to Liberty’ (more likely, in fact, his just completed ‘Ode to Naples’), he soon found himself ‘riotously accompanied by the grunting of a quantity of pigs brought for sale to the fair’ ‘held in the square, beneath [his] windows’.1 The interruption reminded him of the famous scene in Aristophanes where Dionysus, rowing Charon's boat across the bottomless lake into the Underworld, is infuriated by the dissonant croaking of a chorus of hellish frogs. This association led Shelley to the first scene of Swellfoot: Swellfoot at his devotions in the temple of Famine is interrupted by a chorus of pigs grunting their ‘eighs’, ‘aighs’, and ‘ughs’ (I. i. 17, 19, 23), as the frogs in Aristophanes croak ‘brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax’.2 Like Aristophanes' degraded Dionysus, Swellfoot responds with rising anger and finally shouts them down. Mary...
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SOURCE: “Time's Tale: The Temporal Poetics of Shelley's Alastor,” in Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. XLV, 1996, pp. 132-55.
[In the following essay, Murphy discusses the sense of narrative time in Shelley's Alastor.]
While Shelley's reputation as a poet has often rested upon an estimate of his talents as a lyricist, critics of the last decade have complicated this judgment by increasingly focusing on the poet's engagement with that literary mode most conspicuously at odds with lyricism: narrative. In this latter group the work of Tilottama Rajan stands out as the most extensive and theoretically ambitious to date. Her recent essay, “The Web of Human Things: Narrative and Identity in Alastor,” continues her previous efforts to reverse the traditional valorization of lyric over narrative in Romantic studies.1 Recapitulating the canonical reading of Alastor as an allegory of visionary failure, Rajan rescripts this loss as the deconstructive triumph of narrative. She argues that the Romantic desire for internalized self-identification and lyric totality, doubled from narrator to hero, is repeatedly frustrated by the narrative's network of traces, displacements, and deferrals—a textual unweaving which registers “the inevitable functioning of language as difference” as it resituates the lyric self within “a temporal and historical world …...
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Foot, Paul. “Shelley's Revolutionary Year.” In Ambient Fears: Random Access 2, edited by Pavel Büchler and Nikos Papastergiadis, pp. 31-45. London: Rivers Oram Press, 1996.
Discusses Shelley's attempts to publish the radical, political poetry comprising his Philosophical View of Reform.
An, Young-Ok. “Beatrice's Gaze Revisited: Anatomizing The Cenci.” InCriticism XXXVIII, No. 1 (Winter 1996): 27-68.
Offers a feminist reading of The Cenci that probes the “complex operations of violence, law, and desire that intersect with gender issues” in the work.
Austin, Timothy R. “Narrative Transmission: Shifting Gears in Shelley's ‘Ozymandias’.” In Dialogue and Critical Discourse: Language, Culture, Critical Theory, edited by Michael Macovski, pp. 29-46. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Syntactic analysis of Shelley's poem “Ozymandias” that endeavors to reassess the work “as a sophisticated and even daring poetic creation.”
Blood, Roger. “Allegory and Dramatic Representation in The Cenci. InStudies in Romanticism 33, No. 3 (Fall 1994): 355-89.
Summarizes contemporary critical estimation of Shelley's verse drama The Cenci and interprets the work from a...
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