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Queen Mab as Topological Repertoire

by Timothy Morton

Fractal Self-Similarity in Percy Shelley: a non-exhaustive list

(references taken from Shelley and the Revolution in Taste  and Hutchinson's Poetical Works ). (In ideological terms, what Shelley and the Revolution in Taste  calls 'elision'; here, a fresh way of accounting for the incandescent, synaesthetic psychedelia of Shelley's verse.)

The Revolt of Islam : Cythna becomes Laone, an iteration of 'Laon' (V). Rosalind and Helen : Joyous he was; and hope and peace On all who heard him did abide, Raining like dew from his sweet talk, As where the evening star may walk Along the brink of the gloomy seas, Liquid mists of splendour quiver. (641-46) And rare Arabian odours came, Through the myrtle copses steaming thence From the hissing frankincense, Whose smoke, wool-white as ocean foam, Hung in dense flocks beneath the dome-- That ivory dome, whose azure night With golden stars, like heaven, was bright. (1089-95) (This is also an example of what I have chosen to call the poetics of spice)

Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills : Noon descends around me now: 'Tis the noon of autumn's glow, When a soft and purple mist Like a vaporous amethyst, Or an air-dissolved star Mingling light and fragrance, far From the curved horizon's bound To the point of Heaven's profound, Fills the overflowing sky. (285-93 (and ff.))

The Witch of Atlas : The water flashed, like sunlight by the prow Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to Heaven. (409-10) A haven beneath whose translucent floor The tremulous stars sparkled unfathomably, And around which the solid vapours hoar, Based on the level waters, to the sky Lifted their dreadful crags, and like a shore Of wintry mountains, inaccessibly Hemmed in with rifts and precipices gray, And hanging crags, many a cove and bay. (433-40) The Chariots in The Triumph of Life  and Queen Mab  can be read as transumptive emblems of the iterative power of allegory.

The Triumph of Life passim , but e.g.: 'So did that shape its obscure tenour keep Beside my path, as silent as a ghost.' (432-33) Shadows of shadows, yet unlike themselves. (488)

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Published @ RC

August 1997