Journal Article

Gods, Ghosts, and Shelley’s ‘Atheos’

Geoffrey Hartman

in Literature and Theology

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 4-18
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Gods, Ghosts, and Shelley’s ‘Atheos’

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Pointing to the persistence in the Romantic Enlightenment of even the minor pagan gods, the essay focuses on the function of the genius loci in Shelley's; ‘Mont Blanc’, both its subtle presence and its ghostly, quasi-theophanic intervention at the end of stanza 2. Shelley uses features of the ‘Great Ode’ to express his own type of religious feeling in the face of the sublime of Nature, while making of Mt Blanc a counter-Sinai. Though close to trance, he rejects the traditional response of abjection and affirms ‘my own, my human mind’ in a poem that is a remarkable instance of the transformed minor genre of the nature inscription and deepens our understanding of his atheism as a refusal to name the unknown power he acknowledges.

Journal Article.  6405 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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