Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1999


Arditi, Neil Lucien.  "The Uses of Shelley: 'Alastor' to 'The Triumph of Life' (Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude)."  Ph.D. diss., U of Virginia, 1998, DAI, 60-01A (1999): 138, 213 pages.

Arditi presents a reading of Shelley's later works with particular attention to Shelley's revisionary confrontation with Wordsworth.  The aim of the study is "to re-establish Shelley's credentials as our contemporary" and even "to suggest ways in which Shelley is still out in front of us."

Brigham, Linda C.  "Disciplinary Hybridity in Shelley's 'Adonais.'"  Mosaic 32.3 (September 1999): 21-39.

Rather than seeing Shelley's elegy for Keats in terms of the poetic and philosophical ideas it embodies, Brigham examines relationships between Shelley's imagery and contemporary scientific understanding.  Ultimately, Brigham sees the poem as "anti-modern."

Brigham, Linda C.  "Alastor, Apostasy, and the Ecology of Criticism." In Irony and Clerisy,  Ed. Deborah Elise White.  RC-Praxis (August 1999): <>.

Brigham describes a conflict in Alastor between an escapist equivocation on the one hand and political commitment on the other.  Then, Brigham argues, "Rather than searching for a resolution to this long-familiar inconsistency, in this essay I suggest these contradictions as by products of agonistic pressures themselves. 'Alastor's' peculiar, sporadic attachment to polemic is the result of a form of argument gone haywire, like the logic of 'Live free or die' in a global context of nuclear deterrence" (par 3).  In effect, Brigham contends that the poem—theoretically considered—is radically reflexive, that its pursuit of pleasure destabilizes any expression of a totalizing "strong theory" (and vice versa), but that this interchange between pleasure and theory constitutes the ideological stance of the poem.  In her title Brigham calls this interdependence the "ecology of criticism."

Burns, Allan D.  "Landor, Ianthe, and the 'Other Bards.'"  ELN 37.1 (September 1999): 56-64.

Burns suggests that Landor's "Ianthe" is a reference to his beloved Jane Swift; the use of the name "Ianthe," however, raises a number of questions about Landor's problematic relations with Byron and Shelley.

Colbert, Benjamin.  "Contemporary Notice of the Shelleys' History of a Six Weeks' Tour: Two New Early Reviews."  KSJ 48 (1999): 22-29.

Considering two early reviews (Eclectic Review and Monthly Review) of the Shelleys' late 1817 production, Colbert argues for a reading of the work in context of travel writing rather than the more familiar teleological reading of the History leading up to Mont Blanc.

Cox, JeffreyPoetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Keats, Shelley, Hunt and Their Circle.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 

"Jeffrey N. Cox refines our conception of 'second-generation' Romanticism by placing it within the circle of writers around Leigh Hunt that came to be known as the Cockney School. Offering a theory of the group as a key site for cultural production, Cox challenges the traditional image of the Romantic poet as an isolated figure by recreating the social nature of the work of Shelley, Keats, Hunt, Hazlitt, Byron, and others as they engaged in literary contests, wrote poems celebrating one another, and worked collaboratively on journals and other projects.  Cox also recovers the work of neglected writers such as John Hamilton Reynolds, Horace Smith, and Cornelius Webb as part of the rich social and cultural context of Hunt's circle.  This book not only demonstrates convincingly that a Cockney School existed, but shows that it was committed to putting literature in the service of social, cultural, and political reform."  And one might add to this reasonably accurate and comprehensive dustjacket description that Cox implicity reorganizes the now conventional way of arranging the later Romantic writers into various author-centered "circles"—e.g. "The Shelley Circle"—arguing instead for the designation of a distinct, unified, and prolific literary-cultural "School."

Dugger, Julie Marie.  "Historic Properties: The Rhetoric of British Utopia, 1815-1848 (Reform Movements)."  Ph.D. diss., U of Chicago, 1998, DAI, 59-11A (1999): 4150, 247 pages.

The fundamental argument here is that the reform movements of early nineteenth-century Britain were influenced by utopian literature.  The first chapter focuses on the works of Robert Owen and P. B. Shelley.

Edgecombe, Rodney Stenning.  "Lucretius, Shelley and 'Ode to the West Wind.'"  KSR 13 (1999): 134.

In this brief note, Edgecombe identifies imagistic parallels between Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, book 6, and Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind."

Epstein, Andrew.  "'Flowers that Mock the Corse Beneath': Shelley's Adonais, Keats, and Poetic Influence."  KSJ 48 (1999): 90-128.

Epstein sees Adonais as Shelley's deliberate response to Keats's famous admonition to "load every rift with ore."  The resulting poem is fraught with ambivalence and contradiction—the consequence of Shelley's complex relationship with Keats as both brother and rival:  "The pervasive undecidability that colors Adonais's content, structure, and imagery stems as much from Shelley's relationship with Keats's poems and his ambivalent feelings about Keats and poetic independence, as from Shelley's characteristic penchant for unstable and self-contentious rhetorical figures" (94).

Finch, Peter.  "Monstrous Inheritance: The Sexual Politics of Genre in Shelley's St. Irvyne."  KSJ 48 (1999): 35-68.

Finch sees a kind of nascent narrative strategy in the two, seemingly unrelated plots of St. Irvyne.  Formally, the two plots dramatize "dual and often conflicting generic conventions, the gothic and the sentimentalist."  The result of the analysis finds that the novel is indeed "immature" in that it shows a young writer experimenting with potential narrative modes, "yet it also reveals [Shelley] . . . as an accomplished interrogator and subtle unbinder of existing regimes of literary discourse, in a manner that deserves to be given much more scholarly attention" (37).

Fischer, Doucet Devin and Stephen Wagner.  "Visionary Daughters of Albion: A Bicentenary Exhibition Celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley."  Biblion: The Bulletin of the New York Public Library 6.2 (Spring 1998): 3-148.

Foss, Chris.  "Shelley's Revolution in Poetic Language: A Kristevan Reading of Act IV to Prometheus Unbound."  ERR 9.4 (Fall 1998): 501-18.

Frosch, Thomas.  "Passive Resistance in Shelley: A Psychological View."  JEGP 98.3 (July 1999):  373-95.

Focusing on the apparent contradiction between Shelley's avowed stance of passive resistance and the numerous moments—in both the literature and the letters—of violent and aggressive anger, Frosch contends that Shelley was psychologically conflicted.  For example: "The urge to demolish the father is restrained by the masochistic urge to submit to him, and, conversely, the urge to submit is restrained by the urge to demolish" (395).  Passive resistance in this context emerges as a kind of psychic stalemate, essential both as a psychological defense and as a political tactic.

Goulding, Christopher.  "Shelley from Pisa."  TLS 5023 (July 9, 1999): 14-15.

Goulding includes the full transcription of a Shelley letter of 27 August 1820; the letter—from Brooks Collection in the Northumberland County RO, Newcastle—mentions Southey and Keats and sheds some light on A Philosophical View of Reform.

Harrington-Austin, Eleanor JShelley and the Development of English Imperialism: British India and England.  Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen P, 1999.

Hawley, Michelle Renee.  "Aesthetic Citizenship: Poetry and the Public Sphere in Britain, 1868-1874 (Victorian, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Lord Byron, James Thomson, Robert Browning, Republicanism, Liberalism)."  Ph.D. diss., U of Chicago, 1999, DAI, 60-06A (1999): 2038, 278 pages.

Hawley's study examines a crucial period in the political development of Victorian England, arguing that in the years 1868-1874 "the legacy of romanticism became central and conflicted terrain."  On the one hand, the radical Romantics (Blake, Byron, Shelley) were the impetus for a popular counter-politics; on the other, a selection of Romantic-era poetry was "swiftly being incorporated into the emergent 'literary tradition' as an affirmative symbol of national culture."

Heohne, HorstPercy Bysshe Shelley: Leben und Werk.  Frankfurt and New York: Peter Lang, 1998.

Kohler, Michael.  "Shelley in Chancery: The Reimagination of the Paternalist State in The Cenci."  SIR 37.4 (Winter 1998): 545-89.

"This essay will explore the way in which Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Cenci takes up a burden more often laid at the feet of political or moral philosophy: the discovery of proper comportment, or ethical stance, towards the claims of law" (545).  Thus begins a complex analysis both of Shelley's early conception of state power as founded on the consent of the governed and of The Cenci's refashioning of this relationship of power.  The later drama, Kohler argues, "provides an account of legal obligation and political authority at odds both with his earlier beliefs and with a strong scholarly tendency to treat The Cenci as an essentially anti-authoritarian representation" (546).

Kohler, Michael David.  "Governmental Modernity and Nineteenth-Century Narrative and Dramatic Verse: A Study in the Ideological Inflection of Form (William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Browning, Romantic, Poetry)."  Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins U, 1999, DAI, 60-02A (1999): 433, 256 pages.

The dissertation examines the Romantic writers' assumption of a link between imaginative writing and social and political change.  "These essays chart the attempts of three representative poets, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Robert Browning, to shape new forms of social experience by developing new modes of poetic coherence and totality. In readings of Wordsworth's Salisbury Plain poems and The White Doe of Rylstone, Shelley's Prometheus Unbound and The Cenci, and Browning's Sordello and The Ring and the Book, I argue that these new poetic modes are established principally by coupling narrative representations with and against alternative regimes of formal completion.  These alternative regimes are aligned in the poems with particular representations of the relation of person and social whole, such that the overcoming or transformation of narrative coincides with the triumph of a certain literary-aesthetic, hence ideological, regime."

Kuduk, Stephanie Ann.  "Republican Aesthetics: Poetry and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Nineteenth Century, William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Cooper, Algernon Charles Swinburne)."  Ph.D. diss., Stanford U, 1999, DAI, 60-08A (1999): 2940, 284 pages.

Kuduk examines a genre she calls "republican aesthetics"—the works of "radical poets [who] attempted to translate republican ideals such as liberty, equality, and community into poetic form and . . . to envision poetry as an agent of social and political change."  In this view, poetry had the power to pierce people's tendency to acquiesce in the ideological, typically monarchical repressions that had heretofore held them to a rather confined space within the public sphere.  The formal innovations of radical poetry could potentially awaken readers to the fact of their own oppression.  Romantic-era works discussed include Blake's Songs of Experience, the "New Songs" of the radical press, the practice of tavern singing, and Shelley's Queen Mab

Laplace-Sinatra, Michael.  "'I will live beyond this life': Shelley, Prefaces and Reviewers."  KSR 13 (1999): 88-104.

Laplace-Sinatra examines the Prefaces to Shelley's published works, considering especially "how Shelley used his prefatory writings to respond to and, in some occasions, to try to pre-empt the reviewers' attacks on his poetry" (89).

Lee, MonikaRousseau's Impact on Shelley: Figuring the Written Self.  Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen P, 1999.

Lee examines the relationship between Rousseau and Shelley, considering especially how Rousseau's work influenced Shelley and how Rousseau himself is represented in Shelley's poetry.  The analysis—detailed and persuasive—offers illuminating chapters on Queen Mab, Alastor, Julian and Maddalo, The Sensitive Plant, and, of course, The Triumph of Life.  The book is theoretically astute with an eye always on issues of Romantic subjectivity, language, and the complexities of literary representation.

Lussier,  Mark SRomantic Dynamics: A Poetics of Physicality.   New York: St. Martin's P, 1999.

Romantic Dynamics is a radically interdisciplinary work.  Lussier identifies parallels between, on the one hand, the concepts and metaphors of twentieth-century physics and cosmology and, on the other, the concerns of Romantic-era poetry with physical reality and its apperception by the psyche.  Both areas—recent physics and Romantic poetry—are struck by questions of indeterminacy, relativity, and complexity.  Lussier describes the resulting dynamic models of reality and consciousness in the work of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and the Shelleys. 

Lussier, Mark. "Wave Dynamics as Primary Ecology in Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound." RoN 16 (November 1999): <>.

"Shelley’s use of the tension between differing constructions of the fundamental nature of light arises from a historical context of heated exchanges between proponents arguing over the nature of light itself, following observations that light tends to act as both wave and particle. This essay, then, seeks to bridge the somewhat conflicting modes of reading 'light' by a two part procedure: initially, I examine the historical context of Shelley’s understanding of the dynamics of light, and subsequently I strive to articulate a theoretical framework within which to connect Shelley’s thought to physical models expressed within the new physics of relativity and quantum as these relate to matters of Shelley’s deep ecology. Phrased differently, the essay seeks to find a common ground or middle path between conflicting descriptions of the play of light offered by de Man, Reiman, and Plotnitsky, for all such descriptions are required to investigate fully the role that light plays in Shelley’s argument for the complementarity of consciousness and cosmos as boundary condition for the deepest of ecologies."

Marks, Clifford J.  "Fragments and Fragility: Permeable Foundations in 'The Triumph of Life.'"  ERR 10.4 (Fall 1999): 515-41.

The essay focuses on the ethical dimensions of Shelley's last poem, drawing particular attention to the "the poem's and life's fragile foundations"—a fragility that Marks interprets as potentially advantageous since it "entreats individuals into ethical relationships and community" (516).  This ethical position is mirrored in the form of the poem: the unfinished, fragmentary status of the work drives readers to consider alternative potential endings, and "As long as the critical community struggles for answers, we will replicate an ethical striving that the narrator, Rousseau, and Shelley sought in their investigations into foundational humanity" (535).

O'Neill, Michael.  "'A Storm of Ghosts': Beddoes, Shelley, Death, and Reputation."  Cambridge Quarterly 28.2 (1999): 102-15.

The prolific O'Neill here discusses the influences of Shelley on Beddoes and describes the anxieties of fame and reputation as they affect the life and writing of the later poet.  "Powerfully influenced by Shelley in particular, Beddoes at the same time makes something memorably his own out of an interiorising and extension of Romantic motifs and a pervasive sense of alienation . . ." (103).

Pyle, Forest.  "'Frail Spells': Shelley and the Ironies of Exile." In Irony and Clerisy,  Ed. Deborah Elise White.  RC-Praxis (August 1999): <>.

Pyle begins with a detailed reading of Shelley's "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," stressing the numerous ironies of the "frail spells" of poetry, philosophy, and even theology which are dispelled in acts of critical demystification.  The complex and historically grounded argument concludes with Pyle's claim that "sustained attention to the workings of Shelley's texts disclose something more than the representations of their age or the literary displacements of the empirical condition of exile; Shelley's texts are limit cases of poetic thought and practice in a Romanticism which may well be far from exhausted conceptually. The continuing power of Shelley's most demanding work resides in its ability to reckon with the political as well as poetic implications of an epistemological irony so extensive that it disqualifies the claims of any clerisy to escape it, including the clerisies of contemporary criticism" (par 24).

Quinney, LauraThe Poetics of Disappointment: Wordsworth to Ashbery.  Charlottesville, VA: UP of Virginia, 1999.

From the opening paragraph of Quinney's Preface: "I advance an account of romanticism without consolations.  In the conventional version of romanticism and its legacy, the loss of vitality and self-esteem bewailed in major first-person poems is surreptitiously compensated by a gain in intellectual or artistic entitlement; in the account given here, the losses are subtly compounded, moving up the levels into reaches of ontological catastrophe where restitution is no longer possible.  The pleasures of the self are obliterated rather than solemnized, and the self disappointed with its portion is simultaneously stripped of the comfort of art" (ix).  Thus Quinney introduces the bleak theme of disappointment, dejection, and even desolation which she then follows through chapters on Wordsworth, Shelley, Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery.  The Shelley chapter focuses specifically on Shelley's repeated concern with the collapse of hopes and the subsequent psychology of disappointment.  Quinney contends that Shelley borrowed the theme of melancholy disappointment from the sensibility poets and the earlier Romantics (especially Wordsworth), but that Shelley "played upon, explored, and expanded the fascinations of this theme with a greater range, and perhaps, a greater dexterity than any of his forbears" (67).

Rajan, BalachandraUnder Western Eyes: India from Milton to Macaulay.  Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1999.

In the Introduction, Rajan notes that "This book can be characterized as a historical study with its center of gravity in the romantic era, carried out from a postcolonial vantage point" (10).  The study concentrates, of course, on the place of India in the discourse and consciousness of British public culture during a period of colonial and commercial expansion.  Especially useful in the present connection are chapters on women writers on India, on Southey and The Curse of Kehama, and on Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.  In the latter, Rajan develops a reading based on the force of discourse as it relates to the setting in the Indian Caucasus and to the character Asia.  The work when examined in such terms forwards Shelley's transformative critique of British imperialism and the discourses of domination.

Ramadier, Bernard.  "Shelley et l'encombrante enveloppe: Le Passage de l'etre a l'ombre dans Alastor." In Images fantastiques du corps, ed. Jean Marigny (Grenoble: Universite Stendhal-Grenoble, 1998), 31-42.

Roussetzki, Remy Joseph.  "A Theater of Anxiety: The Irrepresentable in Shelley's 'The Cenci' and in Musset's 'Lorenzaccio' (Alfred de Musset, France, Percy Bysshe Shelley)."  Ph.D. diss., 1999, CUNY, DAI, 60-01A (1999): 120, 301 pages.

Roussetzki contends that Shelley and Musset "aggravated" the traditions of tragic drama in such a way as to generate shock and anxiety: "the dramatic action and the rhetoric of both plays ceaselessly address the radical fact that language has limits and that 'beyond' there lurks an irrepresentable, unimaginable and undefinable 'real.' Both works center around a cause for anxiety in the central characters which language, i.e. the written text, can only approach indirectly, through elaborate linguistic constructions or sublime metaphors."

Ruston, Sharon, comp., with Lidia GarbinThe Influence and Anxiety of the British Romantics.  Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen P, 1999.

This collection of essays—originally papers delivered at the 1998 conference of the British Association for Romantic Studies in Liverpool—considers the preoccupation of Romantic writers with ghosts.  The term "ghosts" is very broadly construed, referring to such diverse textual elements as the hauntings of intertextuality, authorial presence, and the "spectres" of a writer's influential precursors.  Following a preface by John Whale and an Introduction by Ruston, the collection offers essays on Charlotte Dacre, Blake, Wordsworth, Peacock, Percy Shelley, Keats, Beddoes, and Henry James.

Schwarz, Jeffrey A.  "Shelley's Eternal Time: Harmonizing Form and Content in Prometheus Unbound."  KSR 13 (1999): 76-87.

"Shelley's theme of love and forgiveness in Prometheus Unbound elucidates how the causality of tyranny can be broken, while, at the same time, his literary form attempts to shatter the conceptions that poetry and drama are limited to the past, and prove that they are, in actuality, eternal and timeless" (76).

Takubo, Hiroshi.  "The Power and the Poet: Shelley's Ideas of Poetry."  Annual Bulletin of Japan Shelley Studies Center 7 (1999): 11-41.

The essay—a chapter from Takubo's 1997 dissertation on Shelley and Wordsworth—identifies a Power that is the source and inspiration of poetic creativity.  Poets are those who are sensitive to the influences of this Power, and poets are thus moved "to produce poetry that inspires in people higher sentiments that direct society to a happier state. . . .  The later Wordsworth is no longer inspired by the Power, therefore his poetry no longer inspires people to imaginative visions" (12).  Takubo pursues this comparative theme through several lyrics, including especially Shelley's "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" and "Ode to the West Wind" and Wordsworth's Intimations Ode.

Tocchini, Delia.  "'L'esprit ne souffle qu'a son heure': Lamartine, Shelley e il mito romantico dell'ispirazione poetica."  Lettore di Provincia [Ravenna] 29.101 (April 1998): 77-85.

Vatalaro, Paul.  "The Semiotic Echoes in Percy Shelley's Poems to Jane Williams."  KSJ 48 (1999): 69-89.

In a provocative psychological-semiotic analysis of Shelley's late lyrics to Jane Williams, Vatalaro argues that the poems reveal a fundamental tension that runs throughout Shelley's poetry.  On the one hand, the poet is attracted to the "feminine-maternal" (represented by Jane Williams), and he longs to be involved in a relationship of intersubjective intimacy which has its correlative in a mother-infant bond.  On the other hand, Shelley resists the challenge to individual subjectivity and individual autonomy that would be the inevitable consequence of such intimacy, and seeks instead a mature adult relationship mediated by "obligation, legality, and language" (69).  The lyrics turn on this psychological ambivalence.

Weineck, Silke-Maria.  "'They Met—They Parted': On the Relationship Between Poetry and Madness in Julian and Maddalo."  SIR 38.1 (Spring 1999): 89-102.

"In analyzing the relationship between narrative, fragmentation, and madness, I will argue that Julian and Maddalo radicalizes the notion of poetry that Shelley develops in the Defence of Poetry.  What emerges is a concept of pure poetry characterized by the absolute absence of narrative; however, a purely poetic, i.e. purely non-narrative poetry would render poetic speech indistinguishable from mad speech.  Ultimately, then, Julian's abandonment of the maniac stages the abandonment of a notion of radical poeticity." (89).

Wheatley, KimShelley and His Readers: Beyond Paranoid Politics.  Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1999.

Wheatley borrows the "Paranoid Politics" of her title from Richard Hofstadter's 1965 book, The Paranoid Style in American Politics.  In essence, the term refers to a mode of public discourse which tends to see oppositional ideological claims through a lens of suspicion and a fear of conspiracy.  This was the dominant rhetorical mode of the major reviews during those years when Shelley tried to forward his idealistic poetic works (and political ideologies).  Critical hostility was inevitable, and such becomes the subject matter for Wheatley's discussion: "This book explores the dialogue between the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and its immediate public reception" (1).

The book begins with a chapter analyzing the discursive style of three of the most influential reviews: the Quarterly, the Edinburgh (both offer numerous instances of the paranoid style), and Blackwood's Magazine (which strives for a less partisan appreciation of its subjects).  Having established this context, there are three main chapters dealing respectively with Queen Mab, Prometheus Unbound, and Adonais.  The argument connecting these works is subtle and detailed, but a brief synopsis finds a movement from a kind of pure and self-righteous opposition in Queen Mab, through a more collective, participatory strategy fostered by aesthetic beauty in Prometheus Unbound, to Adonais whose reception effectively realizes "a historically and generically determined manifestation of the elegy's own complex revision of Shelley's aesthetic idealism" (12).  Perhaps most significant here is Wheatley's view of the poems not as some purely aesthetic objects for contemplation and study but rather as the focal points—more or less effective—of collective response.  The work of the poem is accomplished in this collective aesthetic-ideological dialogue, and Shelley's singular challenge was one of establishing a place for such dialogue amidst the clamorous paranoid politics so evident in the periodical press.

White, Mary Gassaway.  "Writers Among Friends: A Historical Study of Writing Groups."  Ph.D. diss., U of Southwestern Louisiana, 1999, DAI, 60-04A (1999): 1117, 360 pages.

This dissertation examines the form and function of various "writing groups" including, among others, Coleridge and the Wordsworths, and Byron and the Shelleys.  The emphasis is on rhetoric and composition theory.

Wolfreys, JulianWriting London: The Trace of the Urban Text from Blake to Dickens.  New York: St. Martin's P, 1998.

An extended discussion of literary representations of the city with particular attention to the relationship between individual self and urban space.  The book covers writers from Blake through Dickens and Engels; chapter two focuses on Byron, Shelley, and Barbauld.

Wu, Ya Feng.  "The Spectre of Rousseau in Shelley's 'The Triumph of Life.'"  Studies in Language and Literature [Taiwan] 106 (December 1998): 119-45.

Zimmerman, PhyllisShelley's Fiction.  Los Angeles: Darami Press, 1998.

Zimmerman contends—on rather slender stylistic evidence—that Percy Shelley was a more prolific novelist than has been heretofore acknowledged.  In effect, she claims that Shelley wrote novels (including Frankenstein) and then gave them to his friends to help them become established as writers.

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