WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
- Zastrozzi, A Romance (London: Printed for G. Wilkie & J. Robinson, 1810).
- Original Poetry; by Victor and Cazire, by Shelley and Elizabeth Shelley (Worthing: Printed by C. & W. Phillips and sold by J. J. Stockdale, London, 1810).
- Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson; Being poems found amongst the papers of that noted female who attempted the life of the King in 1786. Edited by John Fitzvictor, by Shelley and Thomas Jefferson Hogg (Oxford: Printed & sold by J. Munday, 1810).
- St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian. A Romance, as a Gentleman of the University of Oxford (London: Printed for J. J. Stockdale, 1811).
- The Necessity of Atheism (Worthing: Printed by C. & W. Phillips, 1811).
- An Address, to the Irish People (Dublin, 1812).
- Proposals for An Association of those Philanthropists, Who, Convinced of the Inadequacy of the Moral and Political State of Ireland to Produce Benefits which Are Nevertheless Attainable, Are Willing to Unite to Accomplish Its Regeneration (Dublin: Printed for I. Eton, 1812).
- A Letter to Lord Ellenborough, Occasioned by the Sentence which He Passed on Mr. D. I. Eaton, As Publisher of the Third Part of Paine's Age of Reason (Barnstaple: Printed by Syle, 1812).
- Queen Mab; a Philosophical Poem: with Notes (London: Printed by P. B. Shelley, 1813; New York: Printed by W. Baldwin, 1821).
- A Vindication of Natural Diet, being one in a series of notes to Queen Mab, a Philosophical Poem (London: Printed for J. Callow, 1813).
- A Refutation of Deism: in a Dialogue (London: Printed by Schulze & Dean, 1814).
- Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude: and Other Poems (London: Printed for Baldwin, Craddock & Joy and Carpenter & Son, by S. Hamilton, 1816).
- A Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote Throughout the Kingdom. By the Hermit of Marlow (London: Printed for C. & J. Ollier, 1817).
- Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century (London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely & Jones and C. & J. Ollier, by B. M'Millan, 1818 [i.e., 1817]); revised as The Revolt of Islam; A Poem, in Twelve Cantos (London: Printed for C. & J. Ollier by B. M'Millan, 1818).
- History of a Six Weeks' Tour through a Part of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland: with Letters Descriptive of a Sail round the Lake of Geneva, and of the Glaciers of Chamouni, by Shelley and Mary Shelley (London: Printed for Thomas Hookham Jr. and C. & J. Ollier, 1817).
- Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue; with Other Poems (London: Printed for C. & J. Ollier, 1819).
- The Cenci. A Tragedy, in Five Acts (Leghorn, Italy: Printed for C. & J. Ollier, London, 1819).
- Prometheus Unbound. A Lyrical Drama in Four Acts, With Other Poems (London: C. & J. Ollier, 1820).
- Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant. A Tragedy. In Two Acts. Translated From the Original Doric (London: Published for the author by J. Johnston, 1820).
- Epipsychidion. Verses Addressed to the Noble and Unfortunate Lady Emilia V____ Now imprisoned in the Convent of____ (London: C. & J. Ollier, 1821).
- Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion etc. (Pisa: With the types of Didot, 1821; Cambridge: Printed by W. Metcalfe & sold by Gee & Bridges, 1829).
- Hellas: A Lyrical Drama (London: C. & J. Ollier, 1822).
- Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (London: Printed for John & Henry L. Hunt, 1824).
- The Masque of Anarchy. A Poem, edited by Leigh Hunt (London: Edward Moxon, 1832).
- Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations and Fragments, 2 volumes, edited by Mary Shelley (London: Edward Moxon, 1840).
- The Wandering Jew. A Poem, edited by Bertram Dobell (London: Shelley Society, 1887).
- Notebooks of Percy Bysshe Shelley, From the Originals in the Library of W. K. Bixby, 3 volumes, edited by H. Buxton Forman (Boston: Bibliophile Society, 1911).
- A Philosophical View of Reform, edited by T. W. Rolleston (London: Oxford University Press, 1920).
- The Esdaile Notebook. A Volume of Early Poems, edited by Kenneth Neill Cameron from the manuscript in the Carol H. Pforzheimer Library (New York: Knopf, 1964).
- The Esdaile Poems, edited from the manuscripts by Neville Rogers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966).
- The Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics. Shelley, 3 volumes: The Esdaile Notebook, The Masque of Anarchy, Hellas: A Lyrical Drama, edited by Donald H. Reiman (New York & London: Garland, 1985).
Editions and Collections
- The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 4 volumes, edited by Mary Shelley (London: Edward Moxon, 1839; 1 volume, Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1839).
- The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Including Various Additional Pieces from MS. and Other Sources, 2 volumes, edited by William Michael Rossetti (London: E. Moxon, 1870; New York: T. Crowell, 1878).
- The Complete Poetical Works of Shelley, edited by Thomas Hutchinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1904); revised by G. M. Matthews (London: Oxford University Press, 1969).
- The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Julian Edition, 10 volumes, edited by Roger Ingpen and Walter Edwin Peck (London: Ernest Benn, 1926-1930).
- "Shelley's Translations from Plato: A Critical Edition," in James Notopoulous, The Platonism of Shelley: A Study of Platonism and the Poetic Mind (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1949).
- Shelley's Prose; or The Trumpet of a Prophecy, edited by David L. Clark (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1954; corrected, 1966).
- Posthumous Poems of Shelley: Mary Shelley's Fair Copy Book, Bodleian Ms. Shelley Adds. d.9 Collated with the Holographs and the Printed Texts, edited by Irving Massey(Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1969).
- Shelley's Poetry and Prose, edited by Donald Reiman and Sharon Powers (New York: Norton, 1977).
- "Essay on Christianity," in Shelley Memorials, edited by Lady Jane Shelley (London: Smith, Elder, 1859).
- Select Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Richard Garnett (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, 1821).
- Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Elizabeth Hitchener, 2 volumes, edited by T. J. Wise and H. B. Forman (London: Privately printed, 1890).
- Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to William Godwin, 2 volumes, edited by Wise and Forman (London: Privately printed, 1891).
- Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Leigh Hunt, 2 volumes, edited by Wise (London: Privately printed, 1894).
- The Shelley Correspondence in the Bodleian Library, edited by H. R. Hill (Oxford: Printed for the Bodleian Library by John Johnson, 1926).
- Shelley and His Circle, 1773-1822, Carl Pforzheimer Library, 8 volumes; volumes 1-4, edited by Kenneth Neill Cameron: volumes 5-8, edited by Donald H. Reiman (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961-1986).
- The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 volumes, edited by Frederick L. Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964).
Percy Shelley was a poet, literary theorist, translator, political thinker, pamphleteer, and social activist. A voluminous reader and bold experimenter, he is worth consulting on any of the multifarious topics he addressed, from vegetarianism to war. He is closely associated with reform because he helped define its principles and practices, intervening in debates about the redistribution of wealth in Britain between 1810 and 1822 and the role played by religion in legitimizing tyranny. His conduct was as distinctive as his thinking, in the public as well as the domestic sphere, helping to create a body of legend around him and his circle. Shelley offers compelling evidence of the upper-class radical and of the political poet with lyrical and philosophical gifts.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was the grandson of Bysshe Shelley, a wealthy Whig landowner created baronet in 1806 as a result of his connections to the duke of Norfolk. Percy's father, Timothy Shelley, was the second son of Sir Bysshe's first marriage. Timothy occupied the property of Field Place in Sussex when his elder brother, John, died childless in 1790, and he inherited the baronetcy in 1815, by which time he was also representing the Whig interest as member of Parliament for Shoreham, a seat he held from 1802 to 1818. Percy's mother, Elizabeth Pilfold, also from an old Sussex family, subsequently gave birth to five daughters and another son.
As son and heir, Percy received the attention and opportunities appropriate to the making of a gentleman farmer and future politician before leaving home at the age of ten for Syon House Academy at Isleworth. This establishment was headed by a Scot, Dr. Greenlaw, who saw conscientiously to the intellectual needs of his charges but could do little to discourage the bullying that marked such schools, brutalizing the nation's future leaders at a most impressionable age. Shelley was a prime target for behavior that he would always deplore and attempt to counter, but he also gained access to the school's academic collections and the Gothic fare of its circulating library.
After Syon House came Eton College, a powerful symbol of Englishness for the country's elites. There in 1804 Shelley expanded his circle of acquaintance and confirmed his studious habits, his partiality to the underdog, and his love of nature. Eton's distinctive slang and other codes had to be learned quickly by those who wished to prosper there, but Shelley was as intent on demystifying this discourse as in redirecting the knowledge that went into the making of a gentleman. He experimented with electricity and pursued astronomical questions with the widely traveled and learned Dr. James Lind, but his principal occupations were literary: translating and composing in Latin and Greek and imitating the Gothic fiction available in Windsor and circulated furtively among his peers.
Zastrozzi (1810) was one of two romances in which Shelley connected with the broader literary culture of his time while registering his admiration for the treatment of mystery and violence in the fiction of Charlotte Dacre, William Godwin , and Anne Radcliffe. From this first literary venture he learned there was money to be made from such work, that he had talent, and that he could use it to affirm allegiances and explore risky topics. Zastrozzi features two ill-fated lovers, Verezzi and Julia, and their diabolic counterparts, Zastrozzi and Matilda, who are eventually tried and executed by the Italian Inquisition after causing the deaths of the two lovers. First in Germany and then in Italy, Shelley exposes human goodness to hatred and sexual passion, allowing the eponymous villain to parody attachment in his lawless espousal of vengeance. The novel's revenge economy produces excesses of cruelty, rationalization, and an array of feelings conveyed by melodramatic gestures and stilted psychologizing. However, the inadequacy of language to enact and explain human conduct and social contradiction is part of the point; indeed it is an important reason for the persistence of evil and for the proliferation of absolute yet violable oaths in this novel and in St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian (1811), which identifies its author as "a Gentleman of the University of Oxford."
In St. Irvyne Shelley favors an even more complicated plot, which becomes increasingly ill-managed as he turns his attention from imagined to actual evil. Again employing Alpine and Italian settings and European stereotypes of innocence and corruption, Shelley develops the character and condition of a young nobleman called Wolfstein St. Irvyne--from suicidal alienation from his family to a career as a bandit and thence to the gaming tables and dissipation of Genoa and a second inheritance in Bohemia. A deliberately awkward subplot involves Eloise, whom the reader belatedly discovers is Wolfstein's sister who thinks him dead. Brother and sister are both prone to psychic self-scourging and impetuous attachment, and this common capacity is exploited ruthlessly by a diabolic figure known to the brother as Ginotti and to his sister as Nempere. Misnumbered chapters and unexplained mysteries such as the double deaths of Wolfstein and Ginotti convey the disruptive force of Gothic passion and Shelley's ill-controlled absorption with the question of an afterlife and the institution of marriage. Shelley had also added a more pronounced erotic element to the book so as to stimulate sales, but his shifting interests caused him to lapse from voluptuousness into sexism and direct didacticism. Shelley then turned to poetry to further his fascination for the Gothic, producing Original Poetry; by Victor and Cazire (1810), co-authored with his sister Elizabeth, and Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson (1810). The first collection, as well as pursuing themes of innocence seduced, turns to the costs of social rupture and estrangement and to the condition of Ireland. The Posthumous Fragments is more obviously radical in purporting to speak for a woman who had "attempted the life of the King in 1786." Attempted regicide, like the unfinished project of republican reform or socially charged poetic fragments, can check the rabid patriotism of a nation at war. Shelley contrasts the collaboration of "Ambition, power, and avarice" with the socially harmonious "ties" of love and brotherhood, and the consequences of "fell and wild misrule" in England, France, and Ireland with utopian visions of personal and collective concord. However, the fragmentary form requires of him nothing more than the registering of contradiction and discrepancy, with happiness either a thing of the past or an uncertain future.
Shelley went up to University College, Oxford in the fall of 1810, following in his father's footsteps and following paternal advice in linking up with the firm of Slatter and Munday, who provided him with his academic books as well as access to their printing and publishing facilities. Shelley found a kindred spirit in Thomas Jefferson Hogg, his future biographer, whose family's prosperity was linked to Durham Cathedral but whose own thinking was far from orthodox. In his brief and notorious career as an undergraduate, Shelley exposed connections between academic and religious authority most emphatically in his pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism, which appeared in February 1811. The provocation of the pamphlet's title is softened in an assurance that the author has been motivated solely by "a love of truth" and by an appeal for appropriate correction. Shelley "earnestly entreats" others to set him straight if they can, but such entreaty appears either a naive student's idealizing of dialogue for its own sake or a rebellious student's calculated provocation to the scholars and divines in the university and the church hierarchy. Despite the familiarity of the pamphlet's arguments, it committed several sins unpardonable in the eyes of the authorities: using financial independence to advance the cause of intellectual independence, implying that freethinking was as much an English as a French tradition, exposing attempts to criminalize belief as both unnecessary and unenforceable, and requiring Oxford University to define itself as a house of correction. Only a few copies of the pamphlet survived attempts to destroy it, while the uncooperative Shelley and Hogg were expelled from the university in March.
Nor did the consequences stop there. Shelley's father, appalled by his son's "impious" views, refused him further financial support. This estrangement restricted Shelley's options until he reached his majority two years later, but it could not stop him from social exploration, including a brief but intense attachment to Elizabeth Hitchener and a rash marriage in August 1811 to Harriet Westbrook, with whom he eloped to Edinburgh from her boarding school. Shelley's relationships with women would remain impetuous, promiscuous, and troubled, as he endeavored to square his commitment to free love with a recognition that its objects and products (at least five children in his case) needed legal status wherever possible. The very thought of sharing his new wife with Hogg (who joined them in York and wooed Harriet unsuccessfully) proved damaging to all three parties, and neither the marriage nor the male friendship was ever the same again. The newlyweds moved from York to Keswick in November 1811 with Harriet's sister Eliza in tow. There Shelley met Robert Southey , noting how far this idol had fallen from the radicalism of his youth, and found in Ireland a new focus for his own reforming zeal.
There was presumption and irony enough in this young English nobleman proposing "rational means of remedy" for intractable problems in three pamphlets that he, Harriet, and Eliza distributed in Dublin early in 1812. But Shelley had to make his prose appeal "to the minds of the Irish poor" as well as acting the orator before the General Committee of the Catholics of Ireland and extending his knowledge of a censorship system that went far beyond the bounds of university and family. An Address, to the Irish People (1812) was published in February in an edition of fifteen hundred copies at five pence per copy (four hundred copies being given out free in the streets and public houses of Dublin). The pamphlet's advertisement draws attention to the author's earnestness, linking this quality to the idealistic aims of "unanimity and resolution." Shelley's tone is alternately fierce and moderate, recondite and clichéd, as he turns from historical abuse and current apprehension about the effects of the Act of Union of 1802 and the Prince Regent's attitude to Catholic emancipation to the pursuit of justice for all in a manner "calm, mild, deliberate, patient." The pamphlet attempts to extricate common, indeed universal, goals of equity and freedom from sectarianism and the several varieties of Irish intemperance, so that "backward" Ireland can lead the world in nonviolent reform of personal values and public institutions. As his postscript indicates, this will require organization and consultation such as he recommends in the briefer pamphlet Proposals for An Association of those Philanthropists (1812), and the respecting of the thirty-one tenets enunciated in the Declaration of Rights. The Proposals draw on William Godwin 's Political Justice in developing an analogue to the prorevolutionary Jacobin societies and Hampden Clubs in England. Shelley recognizes the importance and obligations of elites in securing social change and proposes that open discussion is most consistent with reason and that a "religion of philanthropy" alone can end sectarian conflict and the "caterpillar creed of courtiers." However, he is forced to admit that his anticlericalism is unwelcome among the Irish, who seem otherwise to share his politics, and that he should return to England.
During the rest of 1811 Shelley, Harriet, and assorted company were in Devon and Wales, where Shelley became involved in a land reclamation scheme at Tremadoc. His interest in reclaiming basic liberties was undiminished, however, and he continued to attract official and unofficial disapproval of his ménage and his attempts to distribute the remaining stock of his Irish pamphlets, stymied by a system that used customs regulations, Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth's spies, and a questionable application of the laws of the land to deal with political opposition. Another pamphlet seemed called for, this time A Letter to Lord Ellenborough, which advanced arguments for freedom of expression so effective that they were still used in legal disputes at the end of the century. The anonymous but readily identifiable author of the letter defends the radical London bookseller Daniel Isaac Eaton , whose eighteen-month sentence for blasphemous libel included time in the pillory. The pamphlet may not have moved the authorities, but it made clear to a steadily increasing circle of reforming politicians, publishers, and writers that Shelley was a courageous and important new voice on the political scene.
Shelley's growing intimacy with radical writers such as Godwin and Leigh Hunt stimulated him to further expression in poetry as well as polemical prose, and The Esdaile Notebook (first published in 1964) includes poems of this period on American, Irish, French, and Oriental topics to be more fully explored later, as well as reflections on his marriage. Ready to undertake a more ambitious project employing prose and poetry in a demand for change, Shelley wrote Queen Mab; a Philosophical Poem (1813), one of his most radical works, about which he had misgivings until the end of his life. He worried that the work was "better suited to injure than to serve the cause of freedom," knowing as he did how unorthodox opinions could elicit a backlash. The work would also be used to establish his unfitness as a parent during the 1817 chancery hearings after Harriet's suicide. He was also well aware of how the prospects of reform had been harmed by agents provocateurs and of how difficult it was to unite the politically radical public. Once again he attempted to control reception of his work by overseeing its distribution to readers likely to sympathize with a forthright critique of monarchy, Christianity, and the intellectual and political economies whereby they ensured their own continuing hegemony. Only some 70 of the 250 copies printed were allowed into circulation, the author's name and address having been excised. But the contradictory features of the work's first publication are ascribable more to the times than to the author, a fact recognized by those who read the work in William Clark's pirated edition of 1821 or in copies subsequently made available by radical booksellers for Chartist and later socialist readers.
Perhaps Queen Mab tries to do too much in its poetic text and in the copious notes, sometimes recycled from his earlier polemics, that threaten to collapse a flimsy plot under the weight of vision and analysis. However, Shelley is attempting as usual to defend philosophy against distrust of the work of Scottish thinker David Hume and disparagement of the French philosophes and their supporters. The main title of the work has been seen as deliberately misleading, and there is some truth to the charge that Shelley wanted it to be read by aristocratic progeny who might not otherwise encounter it. But the choice of a queen as the eponymous heroine of a fiercely antimonarchist work is not simply deceptive. Mab was associated with William Shakespeare 's Romeo and Juliet (circa 1595-1596), a play that speaks powerfully to young people, as do Ianthe and Henry of Shelley's poem, but Mab had also become a familiar figure of mysterious benevolence in popular culture, creating that very form of social inclusion and cohesion that Shelley's work is designed to nourish. Shelley's epigraphs from Voltaire, Lucretius, and Archimedes are untranslated warnings of impending change to the polyglot reader, but they help confirm the title's promise of cultural diffusion.
This major work of some twenty-three hundred lines is structured in nine roughly equal sections of blank verse. The spirit of the sleeping Ianthe is taken for a journey through time and space by Queen Mab to learn the lessons of history and the means for sweeping social change. The separation of spirit from body is a pretext for the demonstration of "affections and antipathies" in all things. "Learn to make others happy" is the didactic project enforced by verse and notes. The difficulty of acquiring and applying such knowledge is illustrated from an impressive compressed history of monarchy and tyranny, economics, religion, "natural diet," and the abuse of language, for "This is no unconnected misery, / Nor stands uncaused, and irretrievable."
Canto 5 is a specially trenchant account of commerce as seeking to naturalize the arbitrary valuation of gold and the cruel division of humanity into rich and poor that a theory of value based on anything other than labor promotes. This analysis makes way for hope in the form of a people's charter to succeed "the blood-stained charter of all woe," which is human history. The desired transformation will occur, however, only when the disfiguring instruments of religion make way for a Lucretian and Holbachian necessity, the physical laws of nature connecting humanity to "The sensitive extension of the world."
Shelley was no better at controlling the reception of his ideas than of his actions, and the months following the abortive publication of Queen Mab were marked by fresh upheavals in his personal life. His marriage to Harriet had become a kind of grisly Gothic sacrament. Shelley's horror of deception, remarkably consistent throughout his life, added to both his allure and his capacity to wound, and he met with admiration from the three young women in the Godwin household, Fanny Imlay, Jane (later Claire) Claremont, and the remarkable daughter of Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft who was to become Shelley's second wife. Undeterred by Harriet's second pregnancy, Shelley eloped with Mary and Claire Godwin in late July 1814. They crossed to France and spent the next six weeks in Paris and Switzerland before indigence forced their return to England. Living up to his principles landed Shelley in a financial and personal mess, alienating the Godwins until he regularized his relationship with Mary, and leaving Harriet with a young daughter, Ianthe, and an infant son, William, to look after. Shelley's finances improved with the death of Sir Bysshe Shelley in 1815--he received from his grandfather's estate £1,000 annually, £200 of which was paid directly to his estranged wife, but Harriet was beyond consoling, and she drowned herself in November 1816, shortly after the suicide of Mary's half sister, Fanny. The year ended with Shelley marrying Mary amid guilt and apprehension and a custody battle with the Westbrook family looming.
In 1814 Shelley published another antireligious pamphlet with an uncompromising title, A Refutation of Deism, aimed once again at cultivated persons. This dialogue recycles material from the notes to Queen Mab, and it is proof of Shelley's allegiance to his most radical ideas and of other people's continuing interest in them that this pamphlet was reprinted in 1815 in The Theological Inquirer; or, Polemical Magazine , along with a study of and excerpts from Queen Mab and an "Ode to the Author of Queen Mab". Shelley also published Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude: and Other Poems in February 1816, an event welcomed by those uncomfortable with any explicit linking of poetry and politics. The title poem of this collection is, as Shelley says in his preface, "not barren of instruction to actual men," but the obliqueness of that affirmation is more than matched by the "allegory ... of the human mind" it introduces. The poem is a negative illustration of the virtues of social bonds by a poet recently overburdened by just such connections. The result is a suspiciously protracted and sympathetic lingering with that which is eventually to be renounced. He does not suffer such a "loss of confidence in social man" as the apostate William Wordsworth records in his Excursion (1814), as is clear in some of the shorter poems in the collection, and in "The Daemon of the World", a reworking of passages from Queen Mab. But in "Alastor" Shelley seems authentically disturbed by the simultaneous attainment of a new poetic fluency and a new negativity of outlook in his treatment of love and the figure of the poet in the modern world.
In the summer following the publication of Alastor, Shelley and his wife joined George Gordon, Lord Byron , in Switzerland to accommodate Claire Godwin's infatuation with this renowned aristocratic poet and friend of reform. It was a stimulating time for all who shared this experience by Lake Geneva: Claire would have a daughter, Allegra, by Byron; Mary would produce Frankenstein; Byron would write canto 3 of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; and Shelley would be inspired by the Alpine scenery, the conversation of Byron, and their reading of Jean-Jacques Rousseau together to produce such accomplished poems as the "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" and "Mont Blanc".
After moving to Marlow, England, in March 1817 Shelley was able to develop his relationships with Godwin, William Hazlitt , Henry Hunt, and Thomas Love Peacock . It also offered a good vantage from which to track the spread of reactionary measures (such as the suspension of habeas corpus and the passing of the Seditious Meetings Act) and to try to heal the split between radicals and moderates accentuated by the mass protest and ensuing retribution at Spa Fields the previous December. Shelley published two pamphlets, the first in late February and the other in November. A Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote Throughout the Kingdom. By the Hermit of Marlow (1817) was published by Charles Ollier, Shelley hoping that an edition of five hundred copies might be disseminated through the network of radical booksellers and publishers. The use of a pseudonym would prevent readers from dismissing the pamphlet as further evidence of the moral unfitness of its author, the man whose character was under attack in Shelley v. Westbrook. Relying on Hunt to promote the pamphlet in the Examiner, Shelley anticipated that a respectable persona, coupled with moderate preferences--for annual Parliaments but a restricted franchise--would encourage "a certain degree of coalition among the sincere friends of Reform in whatever shape" as a first step toward the national consensus he desired. Alas, his case for parliamentary reform as inevitable, gradual, legislatively rather than demagogically secured, and operating in the interests of all whom government purported to represent went almost entirely unnoticed. The "many gradations of improvement" located beyond a prudent and binding consultative process were simply too vague to attract attention in an increasingly partisan atmosphere.
In November, when the Prince Regent's daughter and heiress presumptive to the throne died in childbirth, Shelley tried a different tack in An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte (1817). It is uncertain how many copies of this pamphlet were printed, but everyone concerned in its production felt the need for caution because of the popularity of the princess and the fact that Shelley, in countering the biases of the Tory press, subordinated her death to the public execution in Derby the next day of Jeremiah Brandreth, Isaac Ludlum, and William Turner. These men had been betrayed by one of Sidmouth's most infamous spies, but there was a concerted effort by government supporters to drown discussion of that betrayal in a chorus of grief for Charlotte. Shelley reduces the distance between Charlotte and other victims of childbirth, both infants and mothers, and establishes her inanity-by-association with monarchy. Royal rapacity depends on hierarchy and espionage, bringing the country to the point where its alternatives are "a despotism, a revolution, or reform." Charlotte is treated as a social atom, while the men are portrayed as part of that human fabric that might nourish future freedoms were it not cynically exploited by the authorities. Having established the conditions for "a national catastrophe," Shelley concludes more optimistically with the death and resurrection of "British Liberty," the only fitting object of future "worship."
Between the two Marlow pamphlets Shelley completed his longest poem, which was published in December 1817, withdrawn, revised, retitled, and republished in January of the next year. Shelley had fewer mixed feelings about Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century than about Queen Mab, but he met powerful resistance from the Ollier brothers and their printer and had first to moderate the anti-Christian sentiments of his preface and then to regularize the main characters' incestuous relationship before the poem reappeared as The Revolt of Islam; A Poem, in Twelve Cantos . The successive titles suggest a double focus on the private consolations of the pair and the public turbulence of national transformation, suggestive to some critics of artistic indecision or confusion at the poem's core. However, like the tripartite title of the first edition, the new title can be seen as expressing determination to connect form and reform, political empire and the "imperial faculty" (as Shelley later terms the imagination). As Shelley's correspondence concerning the poem confirms, it is a work intended to assess the claims of personal morality, political failure, and the efficacy of words.
Shelley's preface is wary and brash by turns as he connects varieties of authority to the problem of representation so prominent in his pamphlets of this period. When portraying the predicament of an "Immense nation," Shelley simulates those affronts to language that are the inescapable indices of oppression and looks further to a double version of gradualism, combining the slow transformation of slaves into effective friends of liberty and the epic extension of emancipatory narrative--adumbrated in twelve cantos of Spenserian stanzas but never fully achieved. The hero and heroine attain self-understanding, consummate their love, and lead a popular insurgency against the Turkish sultan while avoiding the kinds of atrocity that fatally marred the conduct of the French revolutionaries, but they are burned at the stake in the Golden City and taken to the Temple of the Spirit while tyranny enjoys yet another reprieve. Shelley seems to confirm links between poetry, pessimism, and social justice existing only in prospect. However, the tensions and internal disruptions in the preface and the poem make this work especially instructive, and scholars are now paying more serious attention to the kinds of quietism and resolve it shows in grappling with "the dark idolatry of self" and concerted political action too often brutally imprecise.
The Shelleys and their children went to Italy in March 1818 to reunite Allegra with her father, Byron, and, they hoped, to live more cheaply and healthily. Claire died later that year, however, as did William in the summer of 1819. Shelley kept informed about English politics through Peacock and Hunt and through visitors to his various Italian residences. He also followed European politics closely, while steeping himself in Italian literature and undertaking translations of Plato , Dante, and other favorite writers.
The poetry Shelley produced in these final years is frequently autobiographical, as in the thinly veiled account of his friendship with Byron and the "incommunicable woe" of his estrangement from Mary after the death of William. In "Julian and Maddalo" Shelley captures in poetic conversation and lunatic monologue an instance of what he takes to be a more general crisis of leadership among the forces of reform, the wasted potential of Maddalo (Byron) to become "the redeemer of his degraded country." The figures of the child and the lunatic focus the discussion of what the human will can do, what will endure, and how realism might be found between optimism and despair. However, the pain presented in the poem remains intractable and in some respects mysterious, and Maddalo's theory of poetry rooted in suffering reveals a shift from the politically transformative to the privately cathartic, a shift facilitated by the "Paradise of exiles, Italy."
Between 1818 and 1819 Shelley completed other major works in which the place of pain and evil in the world looms large. Prometheus Unbound: A Lyrical Drama (1820) evolved from three acts to four to accommodate Shelley's historically and geographically distanced reflections on tyranny and resistance. In his preface Shelley appeals to Greek antiquity to justify his own revisionary enterprise, while admitting that the topography of Rome and its environs inspired the settings in which his characters move. Shelley then argues for the social determination of artistic form, allowing artists independence and originality only in "the uncommunicated lightning of their own mind." This model of socially conditioned creativity is then applied to the literary history of England, in which William Shakespeare and John Milton had achieved a "fervid awakening of the public mind," and in which the "great writers of Shelley's own age" are similarly employed.
Having established the general principle of the poet as both creator and creature of his times, Shelley expresses his own views. After defending the poet's claim to a limited autonomy, Shelley distinguishes severely between prose and poetry, retaining for the latter a unique function that in his case has hitherto been "to familiarise the highly refined imagination of the more select classes of poetical readers with the beautiful idealisms of moral excellence." Thus does aesthetic idealism reduce political expectation and discourage political action. People are not yet good enough to do aught but suffer and self-improve; for more directly useful instruction they will have to await the poet's promised "systematic history" of "the genuine elements of human society."
This is not to suggest that Prometheus Unbound is just so much high-minded evasion of political reality, or the ultraimaginative annihilation of historical reference. Shelley's lyrical drama can in fact be read as a pertinent political allegory, with Jupiter's fall symbolizing that of Napoleon and other leaders who have abused their power; Demogorgon standing for historical and moral conundrums yielding solutions through which humans define themselves and their understanding of necessity; and Prometheus and his consort, Asia, representing a secure and nonviolent future for humanity. However, the relocation of the Aeschylean action to the Indian Caucasus fails to yield any critique of British imperialism in that plundered subcontinent, while the dethronement of a tyrant through a captive's suffering, remorse, and curative use of language seems politically naive. The drama includes some memorable passages on the virtues of liberty and love and resonant accounts of language in general and poetry in particular, but the work as a whole continues to tax even its most expert readers.
While the writing of his first lyrical drama was underway, Shelley found time to complete The Cenci. A Tragedy in Five Acts (1819), in which he probes the authoritarian structures of the family and religion, this time in the context of sixteenth-century Italy. The work offers a memorable critique of absolutism, family violence, and the wasteful economy of revenge. The heroine, Beatrice Cenci, contrives the death of the father who has raped her and tyrannized her brothers. The conspirators and hired assassins are then brought to justice, and executed. The composition of a play that Shelley hoped would be performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, with the eminent actress Eliza O'Neill playing the main role, indicates the author's search for a new platform for more realistic views. In the dedication to Leigh Hunt that opens the printed version of the play, Shelley undertakes to "lay aside the presumptuous attitude of an instructor ... [now] content to paint, with such colours as [his] own heart furnishes, that which has been." This is a revealingly confused declaration of intent, promising both a transparent and a passionately colored treatment of cautionary materials from the past, and like many of Shelley's later works, it leaves unresolved a basic tension between engagement and detachment. Idealized heightening is rather too confidently distinguished from ideological tampering, before Shelley rehabilitates didactic poetry as "teaching the human heart, through its sympathies and antipathies, the knowledge of itself." Having alleged unanimity and definiteness rhetorically in his preface, the poet then makes an argument from artistic decorum: "If dogmas can do more, it is well: but a drama is no fit place for the enforcement of them." The single human heart is contrasted with plural dogmas, seemliness and respect with violation or transgression. The notion that truth unadorned is tragic carries an implication of fatalism that gains further but not unequivocal support from the dramatic action.
Even if he had cared to, Shelley was prohibited by events from pursuing the enigma of nonviolent reform in exclusively indirect and highly intellectualized ways. Spa Fields had energized the Hermit of Marlow; the state-sponsored violence at St. Peter's Field near Manchester on 16 August 1819 demanded one of Shelley's most enduring contributions to radical tradition, "The Masque of Anarchy", a mordant poetic assessment of Lord Liverpool's administration. Henry Hunt was involved in both mass meetings, but what became rapidly known as the "Peterloo massacre" indicated that the authorities were as eager as ever to silence dissent and to use force to intimidate their own people. Leigh Hunt immediately attacked the wearers of "the Brazen Masks of Power" in the Examiner.
Once again the meaning of radical literary work is intimately connected to its publishing history. Shelley sent his poem "The Masque" to Hunt in September for inclusion in the Examiner, but Hunt did not print it until 1832, when major parliamentary reform was being achieved. A work that was to become part of the Chartist canon before its inclusion in the literary canon showed that didactic poetry could be Shelley's vocation as well as his "abhorrence," as he had claimed in Prometheus Unbound. "The Masque" degrades the aristocratic literary form of its title through the use of popular icons and accessible ballad stanzas. An empathetic exile is summoned in dream "To walk in the visions of Poesy" closely connected to a specific historical terrain. The poem is in fact brilliantly pedestrian in the rate of political change it envisages after its successive allegorical encounters with Murder (Castlereagh, the foreign secretary), Fraud (Eldon, lord chancellor), Hypocrisy (Sidmouth, home secretary), "And many more Destructions played / In this ghastly masquerade ... [until] Last came Anarchy." Hierarchy triumphs while Hope is reduced to a "maniac maid." Yet while she once more prostrates herself to evil, Anarchy is routed as rapidly and mysteriously as Jupiter had been dethroned in Prometheus Unbound. The remainder of the poem is a sustained cry from the English people's "Own indignant Earth," an exhortation to achieve freedom based peacefully on analysis of political corruption and wage slavery, and on the fundamental truth that should govern all modes of representation: "Ye are many--they are few."
"The Masque" moves from simile and temporary simulation to metaphor and enduring, if repressed, identity. The processes of consultation outlined in the Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote are realized in the Earth's vision of a "great Assembly" of the "fearless and the free," whose fortitude and natural entitlement will disempower their oppressors while winning over the common soldier to the people's side. The gradually triumphant reiteration of a basic message, "Heard again--again--again," becomes a powerful paradigm for a political muse.
The technique of demoticizing high culture reappears to good effect in the scurrilous Hellenism of another work of which only seven copies were sold before it was suppressed: Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant. A Tragedy. In Two Acts (1820) is a Spencean parody of George IV and frequenters of the political trough. The work may seem "ultraradical," but the conduct it urges on those who would bring an end to corruption appears moderate compared with the attempted assassination of the cabinet in the Cato Street conspiracy earlier that year. In this work it is Shelley's self-criticism that is oblique, while his political allegory is instantly intelligible to his audience, as are his demystifications of "state-necessity." The king's estranged Queen Caroline proves as effective a pretext for incriminating connection and critique as had Princess Charlotte.
By 1820 Mary knew that her husband could produce poems effectively addressing "the common wants of men," but she also had to come to terms with his continuing obedience to a visionary, transcendental imperative. Her preference for plain and pertinent poetry was not his, and this difference helped to persuade Shelley that his wife inadequately understood him and that he deserved a psychosexual supplement, of which he writes in the poems to Maria Gisborne, Teresa Viviani, and Jane Williams.
Yet the Shelleys continued to spend much of their time together. Their son, Percy Shelley, was born in Florence in November, and he consoled his parents in part for the loss of their other children, though they felt anxiety about their own health and his. Although they moved to Pisa in January 1820, they frequently traveled, particularly in the summer months, creating an air of persistent unsettlement, making Shelley's production of occasional poems of fine quality--including Adonais (1821), connecting the death of Keats to the politics of reviewing in England and works supporting the successes of freedom movements in Spain, Naples, and Greece--seem all the more remarkable. The last mentioned of these movements inspired the second of his great lyrical dramas indebted to Aeschylus , Hellas (1822).
Designed in part to secure assistance for Alexandros Mavrokordatos's efforts to free his country from Turkish domination, Hellas is also an intriguing gloss on a typically transhistorical Shelleyan claim, "We are all Greeks." In yet another suggestive preface Shelley supports Greek independence, only to concede immediately that "defeat can be even more glorious than victory." This hint that the Greeks are a better subject for poetry when victory eludes them is developed in the next paragraph, in which they are portrayed as the politically subservient but culturally enlightened presence within the Roman empire. Cultural dominance seems to have been purchased at the expense of political power, and the reader is left wondering how this sits with Shelley's earlier allusion to Aeschylus 's Persae, which despite its restraint celebrates the Greeks' latest victory in "the greatest struggle of all." The sense of an uneasy convergence of poetry and pacificism (or defeatism) persists through Shelley's discussion of "race" and condescension to China and Japan, only to be followed by a more convincingly radical critique of monarchy. However, this plain connection of reform to republicanism is complicated by Shelley's letter to his publisher, in which he invites Ollier to censor the preface as he sees fit. The author adds: "I send you the Drama of Hellas, relying on your assurance that you will be good enough to pay immediate attention to my literary requests."
This idea of a greater allegiance to the aesthetic integrity of his poetry than to the political impact of his prose is borne out in the poetic text of Hellas . Shelley achieves clarity and harmony in his "series of lyric pictures," but only at the expense of historical plot and detail. He depicts the sultan's adviser, Hassan, as being of the Greek party without knowing it and offers further grounds for Hellenic optimism by converting Mahmud II from grim pragmatism to the contemplative life of a philosopher and poet.
But this does not mean that all Turks are Greeks or even that all Greeks are Platonists like Shelley. The poet is forced to aestheticize the facts and prospects of violence, moving further away from historical reality into poetry and myth and coming to rest with Amphion lyrically rebuilding the Greek nation. Allusion to "some cape sublime / Which frowns above the idle foam of Time" is both poetically impressive and ominously imprecise. The Greek patriot would surely want to know which cape, because the story of nationhood is inextricably connected to questions of territory. The Shelley of the preface knows this only too well, but Hellas concludes by countenancing defeat as the locus amoenus of the imagination.
Shelley's commitment to reform in his last years seems certain to remain in dispute. Critics of a purist and, hence, defeatist Shelley will have to deal not only with recent arguments for utopian idealism as a necessary component of social change, but also with the tantalizing optimism of the poem on which he was at work when he died, a poem that promised to do for the triumphal ode what his poem on Peterloo had done for the masque, broadening the appeal of a high cultural form (this one deriving from Petrarch). "The Triumph of Life" is a difficult fragment in the terza rima of Dante's Divine Comedy (1321) and employs Rousseau as the dreamer's guide, where Dante had depended on Virgil. It is impossible to tell whether the poem would have eventually favored purity of life or provisionality of accomplishment and whether life's inexorable triumph signifies anything more than the brute persistence of the species and the continuing fallibility of its individual members. Before Shelley could answer the question at which the "Triumph" breaks off--"Then what is life?"--he and Edward Williams had been drowned in a storm at sea on 7 July 1822, their bodies washed ashore ten days after they began the return journey in the Don Juan from Leghorn to Lerici. Even in death there was no escape from the strictures of authority--Italian law required that the corpses be burned on the beach. There was a small and discriminating audience (Byron, Hunt, Edward Trelawny) for this occasion, however, and fuel enough for a lasting legend as well as a physical cremation.
Understanding Shelley will continue to involve not only what he did but how his actions are interpreted. This double obligation needs to be fulfilled for all of his works, but perhaps most especially for the two major prose works of his last years, "A Philosophical View of Reform" (composed mainly in 1820 but never completed; first published in 1920) and A Defence of Poetry (part one of a projected three-part work scheduled to appear in the ill-fated second number of Ollier's Literary Miscellany; first published in a posthumous collection in 1840). Both works are nominally unfinished, but this fact has often been interpreted negatively in the one case--as a sign of philosophical, political, and prosaic trifling and muddle--and positively in the other--as a sign of intense, synecdochic, poetic qualities. Until recently, critics have mostly approved of the way Shelley in A Defence of Poetry cannibalizes his earlier work in the interests of poetic closure, displacing a labor theory of value by one grounded in poetic making. However, scholars are now in a position to teach the "View" as an accomplished political economy of linguistic and other signs that can contribute to the redefinition of relations between historical materialism and aesthetic idealism in Shelley's time and in the present. The depoliticizing of Shelley occurs nowhere more informatively than in the neglect of the "View" and the canonizing of A Defence of Poetry. The "View" is undervalued for being too minutely connected to the economic and historical concerns of 1820, for understanding and applying the term philosophical even more concretely than in Queen Mab. A Defence of Poetry is seen as transcending the occasions of Peacock's utilitarian challenge in The Four Ages of Poetry (1820) to speak "timelessly" of poets as "the unacknowledged legislators of the world." The idealizing proclivities of literary criticism practice a form of censorship less obvious but no less real than the forms of legal censorship with which Shelley had to deal, and this situation is implicit in the many pages of enthusiastic but overwhelmingly apolitical commentary that have been devoted to such images in the Defence of Poetry as "the mind in creation is as a fading coal."
Shelley's politics are as intriguing and controversial as his poetics, and the relation between the two remains the key to understanding how his work was received in the past and how it might best be apprehended in the present and the future. His life and work testify to the importance of education, social class, and gender in the formation of the human subject during the Romantic period. His knowledge and use of language continue to inform his readers about the importance of this profoundly social medium to cognition; to individual, collective, and national self-understanding; and to the practices that go by the name of "culture." Textual scholars and literary historians are resituating Shelley in print culture, moderating and complicating claims for art's autonomy and Shelley's genius, reconstructing and reinvigorating contingency, and thus helping to reform the ways in which he is taught and discussed. His example as sibling, friend, lover, husband, parent, and citizen can continue to help readers understand and reform themselves. Perhaps more than anything else, a rehistoricized Shelley can encourage more productive encounters with the human imagination as social construct as well as private sanctuary, for he was made, as well as unmade, by the knowledge that imagination can activate concern, understanding, and reform where otherwise one might see only "unconnected misery."
The three great repositories for manuscripts and letters by Shelley and his circle are the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Lord Abinger's collection (on deposit at the Bodleian); and the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection, now in the New York Public Library. In addition, there are notebooks and manuscripts in the Huntington Library; the British Library; the Pierpont Morgan Library; Harvard University; the Library of Congress; the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin; Texas Christian University; and the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome.
FURTHER READINGS ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- H. B. Forman, The Shelley Library. An Essay in Bibliography. I. Shelley's Own Books, Pamphlets, and Broadsides: Posthumous Separate Issues, and Posthumous Books Wholly or Mainly by Him (London: Shelley Society, 1886).
- S. A. De Ricci, A Bibliography of Shelley's Letters, Published and Unpublished (Paris: Privately printed, 1927).
- Clement Dunbar, A Bibliography of Shelley Studies: 1823-1950 (New York: Garland, 1976).
- Stuart Curran, "Percy Bysshe Shelley," in The English Romantic Poets, edited by Frank Jordan (New York: MLA, 1985).
- Karsten Klejs Engelberg, The Making of the Shelley Myth: an Annotated Bibliography of Criticism of Percy Bysshe Shelley 1822-1860 (London: Mansell, 1988).
- Leigh Hunt, Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries: with Recollections of the Author's Life, and of His Visits to Italy (London: Colburn, 1828).
- Thomas Medwin, The Shelley Papers: Memoir of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London: Whittaker Treacher, 1833); revised and enlarged as The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 volumes (London: Thomas Cautley Newby, 1847).
- Thomas Jefferson Hogg, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 volumes (London: Edward Moxon, 1858).
- Edward John Trelawny, Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron (London: Edward Moxon, 1858).
- Edward Dowden, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2 volumes (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1886).
- Thomas Love Peacock, Memoirs of Shelley with Shelley's Letters to Peacock, edited by H. F. B. Brett-Smith (London: Henry Frowde, 1909).
- W. E. Peck, Shelley: His Life and Work, 2 volumes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927).
- Newman I. White, Shelley, 2 volumes (New York: Knopf, 1940).
- Richard Holmes, Shelley: The Pursuit (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974).
- Michael O'Neill, Percy Bysshe Shelley: A Literary Life (London: Macmillan, 1989).
- M. Allot, ed., Essays on Shelley (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1982).
- Matthew Arnold, "Shelley," Nineteenth Century, 23 (January 1888): 23-29.
- Edward Aveling and Eleanor Marx Aveling, Shelley's Socialism. Two Lectures (London: Privately printed, 1888).
- S. C. Behrendt, Shelley and His Audiences (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989).
- G. Kim Blank, The New Shelley: Later Twentieth-Century Views (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991).
- Harold Bloom, Shelley's Mythmaking (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959).
- Bloom, ed., Percy Bysshe Shelley (New York: Chelsea House, 1985).
- Kenneth N. Cameron, The Young Shelley: Genesis of a Radical (New York: Collier, 1962).
- Timothy Clark, Embodying Revolution: The Figure of the Poet in Shelley (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).
- Richard Cronin, Shelley's Poetic Thought (London: Macmillan, 1981).
- Stuart Curran, Shelley's Annus Mirabilis: The Maturing of an Epic Vision (San Marino, Cal.: Huntington Library, 1975).
- Curran, ed., The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
- P. M. S. Dawson, The Unacknowledged Legislator: Shelley and Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).
- Paul de Man, The Rhetoric of Romanticism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984).
- de Man, "Shelley Disfigured," in Deconstruction and Criticism (New York: Continuum, 1986): 39-73.
- Edward Duffy, Rousseau in England: The Context for Shelley's Critique of the Enlightenment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).
- Kelvin Everest, ed., Shelley Revalued: Essays from the Gregynog Conference (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1983).
- Paul Foot, Red Shelley (London: Sidgwick, 1980).
- Neil Fraistat, "Illegitimate Shelley: Radical Piracy and the Textual Edition as Cultural Performance," PMLA, 109 (May 1994): 409-423.
- Spencer Hall, ed., Approaches to Teaching Shelley's Poetry (New York: MLA, 1990).
- J. E. Hogle, Shelley's Process: Radical Transference and the Development of His Major Works (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
- William Keach, Shelley's Style (New York: Methuen, 1984).
- Nigel Leask, "'Sharp Philanthropy': Percy Bysshe Shelley and Romantic India," in British Romantic Writers and the East: Anxieties of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993): 68-169.
- Gerald McNiece, Shelley and the Revolutionary Idea (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969).
- M. O'Neill, The Human Mind's Imaginings: Conflict and Achievement in Shelley's Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).
- C. E. Pulos, The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Scepticism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979).
- T. Rajan, Dark Interpreter: The Discourse of Romanticism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1980).
- Rajan, The Supplement of Reading: Figures of Understanding in Romantic Theory and Practice (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990).
- Donald H. Reiman, ed., Shelley, Keats, and London Radical Writers, 2 volumes, Part C of The Romantics Reviewed: Contemporary Reviews of British Romantic Writers (New York: Garland, 1972).
- C. E. Robinson, Shelley and Byron: The Snake and Eagle Wreathed in Fight (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).
- M. H. Scrivener, Radical Shelley: The Philosophical Anarchism and Utopian Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).
- Scrivener, ed., Poetry and Reform: Periodical Verse from the English Democratic Press, 1792-1824 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992).
- Ronald Tetreault, The Poetry of Life: Shelley and Literary Form (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987).
- Earl Wasserman, Shelley: A Critical Reading (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971).
- Timothy Webb, Shelley: A Voice Not Understood (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977).
- R. B. Woodings, Shelley: Modern Judgements (London: Macmillan, 1968).