Shelley and Women

Nora Crook

in The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199558360
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Shelley and Women

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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This chapter discusses Shelley's relationships with women, who feature prominently in many of his works. His most important literary collaboration was with a woman, and his works reflect the influence of remarkable women. Whether Shelley was one of the most pro-feminist of male writers or the subtlest of self-deceiving male dominators is a debate that continues to be perpetually reconfigured. During his lifetime, and for some time afterwards, this debate hinged on whether his views on the ‘relationship between the sexes’ was theoretical only, or had been acted out, for good or ill. Several of Shelley's works are analysed, including Queen Mab, Laon and Cythna, Letter to Maria Gisborne, and the Rosalind and Helen.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; women; poems; Queen Mab; Laon and Cythna; Maria Gisborne; Rosalind and Helen

Article.  8828 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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