Lyrical Drama

Stuart Curran

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

 Lyrical Drama

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)
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This chapter analyses Shelley's two lyrical dramas, Prometheus Unbound and Hellas. Shelley viewed lyric as an essential aspect of drama, and this concerted embedment of lyric at the heart of drama signals his concern with the multiplicity of illusionary frameworks in which we all find ourselves as well as his recognition that all action is subordinate to the preliminary mental conceptions that spur it. The two works he characterized as lyrical dramas are thus to be seen as merely formal investments derived from neoclassical or operatic prototypes. Rather, they constitute, in a concentrated mode to which the author wished to call specific attention, embodiments of a carefully realized notion of what the dramatic form could be stretched to accommodate beyond the objectification of reality to which Aristotle had confined it.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; lyric; dramatic form

Article.  5019 words. 

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

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