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The Devil's Walk, Edited by Neil Fraistat and Donald H. Reiman

Textual Transmission

Though W. M. Rossetti, R. Garnett, Mac-Carthy, and Dowden had earlier made copies and published excerpts from Shelley's letters to Elizabeth Hitchener, that correspondence, including his letter of ?16 January 1812 containing the early draft ofThe Devil's Walk, was first published in full by T. J. Wise in 1890 (see De Ricci 105, 112). Thus the public's first knowledge of The Devil's Walk came when Rossetti, alerted by someone at the Public Record Office to the Shelley materials there, published the text of the 1812 broadsheet and its accompanying letters in Fortnightly Review for January 1871 (n.s., IX [XV of full sequence], no. xlix, 67-85). H. B. Forman, after checking the text at the Public Record Office, included The Devil's Walk in his edition of 1876-77 (IV, 371-77). Though Rossetti accepted several of Forman's corrections in 1878 (III, 371-76), he retained much of his own revised punctuation and orthography, rather than returning to that of 1812. Rossetti's most important innovation was the addition of quotation marks around lines 45-79, which embody his insight that these seditious lines were meant to be Satan's own words, thereby allowing Shelley to evade prosecution by claiming that the attacks on the Regent are presented as being from the lips of the Father of Lies.

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Published @ RC

September 1997