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Shelley (1792


Percy Shelley (1792 1822) Lecture outline 1.Appreciation: Ode to West Wind 2. Shelley s criticism in China 3. Shelly s life and Major works 4. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Shelley (1792

Percy Shelley (17921822)
Lecture outline
  • 1.Appreciation Ode to West Wind
  • 2. Shelleys criticism in China
  • 3. Shellys life and Major works
  • 4. Shellys literary status

Poem appreciation
  • Ode to West Wind
  • What is ode?
  • an elaborately formal lyric poem, often in the
    form of a lengthy ceremonious address to a person
    or abstract entity, always serious and elevated
    in tone.
  • -----Oxford concise dictionary of literary

Brief introduction
  • Position among Shelley's major works
  • one of the most celebrated works
  • Lyric poem Ode to the west wind
  • Lyric poem To a skylark
  • the youngest, freshest, gladdest paean(??)
    of the pure spirit of freedom

  • 3) Sonnet Ozymandias
  • 4) Lyric drama Prometheus unbound

Ozymandias was the Greek name for Rameses II of
Egypt, 13th century B. C. Shattered statue
four-act play
  • Ode to the west wind typically reveals
    Shelleys views of life and politics to enjoy
    freedom and to fight against tyranny

  • Background of the writing
  • written on a day when the weather was
    unpredictable and windy

Shelleys notes
  • This poem was chiefly written in a wood that
    skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when
    that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at
    once mild and animating, was collecting the
    vapors which pour down the autumnal rains. They
    began, as I foresaw, at sunset with a violent
    tempest of hail and rain, attended by that
    magnificent thunder and lightning peculiar to the
    Cisalpine regions.
  • Florence was the home of Dante, creator of terza
    rima, the form of his Divine Comedy.

Close reading
Stanza I
  • O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
  • Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
  • Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter
  • Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
  • Pestilence-stricken multitudes O thou,
  • Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
  • The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
  • Each like a corpse within its grave, until
  • Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
  • Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
  • (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
  • With living hues and odors plain and hill
  • Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere
  • Destroyer and preserver hear, oh, hear!

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Question 1
  • What does the west wind mean to Shelley in the
    first stanza?
  • both a destroyer and preserver

West wind leaves
Breath of autumns being dead like corpse or pestilence-stricken
Unseen presence Lie cold and low in grave (dark wintry bed)
Enchanter Spring, azure sister, blow her clarion
Wide spirit Fill with living hues and colors
Question 2
  • How do you interpret the image of Spring? Do you
    think it is personified?
  • pastoral shepherdess
  • azure sister of the Spring shall blow
  • Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
  • (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
  • With living hues and odors plain and hill
  • reflection of Romanticism to idealize the

Question 3
  • What are the features of the stanza form in the
  • 1) run-on line to imitate the unrestrained
    and free wind
  • 2) a combination of Terze Rima (tercets ???)
    and Shakespearian sonnet rhymed aba, bcb cdc
    ded ee
  • 3) one sentence forms a stanza west wind as
    the breath of Autumns being, wild spirit,
    destroyer and preserver, thou hear!

Stanza II
  • Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's
  • Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are
  • Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and
  • Angels of rain and lightning there are spread
  • On the blue surface of thine aery surge,
  • Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
  • Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
  • Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
  • The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
  • Of the dying year, to which this closing night
  • Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
  • Vaulted with all thy congregated might
  • Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
  • Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst oh,

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Question 4
  • Whats the stanza about?
  • the west wind as a stream in the sky
  • mid the steep sky commotion in disorder

Question 5
  • How do you understand the nature images in the
    stanza? (lightning, approaching storm, bursting
    black rain, fire and hail)
  • suggest the coming of violent force.

Question 6
  • What figures of speech are used in this stanza?
  • allusion
  • fierce Maenad
  • metaphor
  • tangled boughs of heaven and ocean angles of
    rain and lightning
  • simile
  • loose clouds like decaying leaves like the
    bright hair uplifted from the head
  • personification
  • thou dirge of the dying year

Question 7
  • What feature(s) of Romanticism are presented in
    this stanza?
  • imagination
  • tangled boughs of heaven and ocean
  • closing night will be the dome of a vast

Stanza 3
  • Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
  • The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
  • Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
  • Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
  • And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
  • Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
  • All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
  • So sweet, the sense faints picturing them!
  • Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
  • Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
  • The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
  • The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
  • Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
  • And tremble and despoil themselves oh, hear!

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Stanza III analysis
  • The 3rd Stanza deals with the awakening of
    nature. It relates the winds effect on the waves
    in the sea The Mediterranean has been awakened
    by the "West Wind" out of his long sleep in which
    it has seen "old palaces and towers which are
    covered with "moss and flowers".
  • The scenery cannot be described with words,
    because its view robs Shelley and everyone else
    of his senses. It is difficult to describe
    nature. Shelley tries to find metaphors which
    presents nature as a person.
  • But this stanza also tries to conveys the power
    of the "West Wind". Because of it, the Atlantic
    separates and "the sea-blooms and oozy woods"
    change their colour and become grey. The Atlantic
    like the dead leaves obeys the wind. This makes
    plain how powerful the wind, on the one hand, and
    the power of the cycle of life, on the other
    hand, are, because the wind is only one part of
    the cycle.
  • The verse ends like the others.

Stanza 4
  • If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear
  • If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee
  • A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
  • The impulse of thy strength, only less free
  • Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
  • I were as in my boyhood, and could be
  • The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
  • As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
  • Scarce seemed a vision I would ne'er have
  • As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
  • Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
  • I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
  • A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
  • One too like thee tameless, and swift, and

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Question 8
  • Why does the poet hope to a dead leave or a swift
    cloud or a wave?
  • to fly with the wind
  • to share the impulse of strength
  • to be as free as wind

Questions 9-10
  • Whats kind of hope does the poet express?
  • old past days come back again
  • if I were as in my boyhood to be comrade of
    the wind
  • in my sore need
  • I fall upon the thorns of life. I bleed!
  • a heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed/
    one too like thee tameless, swift and proud.
  • What kind of mood is uttered? What dose it
  • sad, sorrow
  • life has changed him, who is chained and
  • he wishes to get youth and liberty back

Stanza 5
  • Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is
  • What if my leaves are falling like its own!
  • The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
  • Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
  • Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
  • My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
  • Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
  • Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
  • And, by the incantation of this verse,
  • Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
  • Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
  • Be through my lips to unawakened earth
  • The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
  • If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

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Question 11
  • How do you understand leaves in stanza 5? Any
    connection with the leaves in stanza 1?
  • my leaves----leaves of the poets----leaves of
    thought (dead thoughts withered leaves)
  • leaves (stanza 1)---winged seeds
  • to quicken a new birth

Question 12
  • What does the incantation of this verse mean?
  • with the help of the poem to scatter my words
    like ashes and sparks
  • the trumpet of a prophecy! O wind,
  • if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Question 13
  • What kind of artistic attitude does the poet
    express in the 5th stanza?
  • the function of poetry
  • Poetry is the indispensable agent of
  • Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of
    the world.
  • Poetry can play a very important part in the
    spiritual life of society

Question 14
  • The poem ends it with a question --- rhetorical?
    Or indicating Shelley's own uncertainty?
  • hopes for radical social change, or a rebirth
    of personal inspiration

Overall Analysis
  • The "West Wind" represents liberty, the
    untamedness of nature and power for Shelley. The
    wind is the changing part in nature, which also
    controls heaven and the sea. It can stand for
    death, but at the same time it means life. It is
    a destroyer and a preserver.
  • Shelley sees the wind as a chance to get a new
    inspiration and to transmit his ideas and

Shelleys criticism in China
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Shelleys Life
Mad Shelley
The Necessity of Atheism ???????
expelled to leave the school disowned by the
Shelleys Life
married Harriet
runaway marriage
William Godwin
turn to London
married Mary
forced to leave England in 1818
Shelleys Life
friendship with Byron
poor health
four-year troubles in Italy
financial problems
restless moving
drowned in 1822, buried at Rome near Keats
death of his two sons
The burning of Shelleys body
Shelleys main works
  • First important poem Queen Mab
  • The Revolt of Islam
  • Prometheus Unbound, struggle against tyranny and

  • Lyrics on Nature and Love
  • Ode to the West Wind
  • To a Skylark
  • Loves philosophy
  • One word Is Too often Profaned
  • With a Guitar, to Jane
  • critical essays Defense of Poetry

  • Artistically
  • Shelley has a reputation as a difficult poet
    erudite (/érudait/) (learned), complex
    (difficult), full of classical and mythological
  • His style abounds in personification and metaphor
    and other figures of speech.

  • Thematically
  • Shelley is one of the leading Romantic poets, an
    intense and original lyrical poet in the English
  • Shelley loved the people and hated their
    oppressors and exploiters.
  • He called on the people to overthrow the rule of
    tyranny and injustice and prophesied a happy and
    free life for mankind.

  • He stood for this social and political ideal all
    his life.
  • He and Byron are regarded as the two great poets
    of the younger generation in English Romanticism.

Comments on Shelley
  • Byron, his best friend, said of Shelley the best
    and least selfish man I ever knew.
  • Wordsworth said, Shelley is one of the best
    artists of us all.

Mary Shelleys comments
  • Shelley loved the people and respected them as
    often more virtuous, as always more suffering,
    and therefore more deserving of sympathy, then
    the great. He believed that a clash between the
    two classes of society was inevitable, and he
    eagerly ranged himself on the peoples side.

His wife Mary
  • Life may change, but it may fly notHope may
    vanish, but can die not Truth be veiled, but
    still it burneth
  • Love repulsed,but it returneth.

Homework for next lecture
  • Two students presentations and answer the
    following questions
  • Describe in your own words, the scenes on the
    Grecian urn. Who are they in these pictures?
  • Who is the speaker of the last two lines in the
  • Comment on the epigram beauty is truth, truth
  • What are the similarities and differences among
    Byron, Shelley and Keats?