Overview

Epipsychidion


Related Overviews

Mary Shelley (1797—1851) writer

Claire Clairmont (1798—1879) a member of the Shelley–Byron circle

Petrarch (1304—1374)

Dante Alighieri (1265—1321) Italian poet

 

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literature

GO

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

An autobiographical poem by P. B. Shelley, published 1821.

Composed in couplets of breathless energy, the poem celebrates Shelley's lifelong search for the eternal image of Beauty, in the earthly form of his various wives, mistresses, and female friends: notably Harriet Westbrook, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and Emilia Viviani—to whom the work is addressed. Though drawing on the courtly love and planetary imagery of Petrarch and Dante, the work is passionately sexual as well as platonic: it ends with an invition to Emilia to elope to ‘an isle under Ionian skies, | Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise’. There is an attack on conventional marriage, ‘the dreariest and longest journey’, and praise of ‘Free’ or ‘True’ Love (ll. 148–73). The poem is also a study of the creative process itself.

Subjects: Literature.


Reference entries
Authors

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792—1822) poet


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.