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Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 1822

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'Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry has been drowned; now he knows ... poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause' (A Defense of Poetry, 796) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 1822


1
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792- 1822)
  • A Passion for Reforming the World

2
Self- Representation vs, Critical Reception
  • In 1816, while travelling through Switzerland
    with Mary Godwin and her step-sister Claire,
    Shelley inscribed the following after his name in
    a hotel register at Chamonix Occupation
    Democrat, Philanthropist, Atheist (in Greek)
    Destination Hell (in French).
  • In 1822, the London Courier reported Shelleys
    death off the Italian coast flippantly
    "Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry has
    been drowned now he knows whether there is a God
    or no."

3
The poet-prophet and socio-poetic reform
  • Like Blake, Shelley adopts the position of a
    poet-prophet
  • Illusion of division
  • Reason respects the differences, and imagination
    the similitudes of things."

4
Imaginative Sympathy
  • The great secret of morals is love or a going
    out of our own nature, and an identification of
    ourselves with the beautiful which exists in
    thought, action, or person, not our own.  A man,
    to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and
    comprehensively he must put himself in the place
    of another and of many others the pains and
    pleasures of his species must become his own. 
    The great instrument of moral good is the
    imagination and poetry administers to the effect
    by acting upon the cause" (A Defense of Poetry,
    796).
  • Love reforms both mental and physical universes

5
Prometheus Unbound
  • Rebel Prometheus vs. Tyrant Jupiter
  • Disdain? Ah no! I pity thee
  • universal transformation results from mental
    revolution
  • Jupiter as Prometheus mental projection
  • Demogorgon, the people monster

6
1819
  • Economic Depression, end of Napoleonic Wars
  • Industrialization
  • Enclosure Acts
  • Peterloo Massacre

7
Shelleys 1819 Poems
  • Men of England (p. 727)
  • England in 1819 (p.728)
  • The poets role in social reform

8
Men of England
  • Contrast style with Prometheus Unbound
  • Contrast Shelleys simple style with Wordsworths
  • Compare tyrannized workers to humans in
    Prometheus Unbound
  • idle classblood drinkers image recurs in
    England in 1819

9
England in 1819
  • Poetic form addressed to educated audience
  • Not didactic like Men of England
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