Love, Sexuality, Gender

Teddi Lynn Chichester

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

Love, Sexuality, Gender

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This chapter examines Shelley's engagement with Plato's thought in the summer of 1818. It describes how Shelley's intense communion with Plato brought him face to face with the most contested aspect of his own philosophy of love: whether it propels us out of our own world of self or instead pulls us further inward, creating a vortex or ‘eddy’ of self-involved desire that prevents any real connection with others – or, as he puts it in the Platonically inflected language of the Defence: ‘with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own’. The chapter analyses elements of Plato in works such as The Banquet, On Love, the Discourse on Love, and the Essay on Friendship.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; Plato; love; philosophy

Article.  8071 words. 

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

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