Politics, Protest, and Social Reform

Michael Scrivener

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

 Politics, Protest, and Social Reform

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This chapter examines Shelley's political works of 1812–13, and how his early radical prose relates to later reflections on politics. It addresses the following questions: Was Shelley's Irish expedition a presumptuous intervention or was it a measured, politically responsible action? Did the activism of 1812–13 lead to disillusionment and retreat, or did Shelley intervene politically in later periods? How are we best to characterize the political philosophy of 1812–13? How does Shelley's earliest political writing relate to the later Philosophical View of Reform (1819)? In terms of philosophical orientation, did Shelley begin as a materialist and then develop a more sceptical and Platonically idealist position? The analysed works include An Address, to the Irish People, the Notes to Queen Mab, and the Letter to Lord Ellenborough.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; political works; radicalism; radical prose

Article.  7016 words. 

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

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