Popular Songs and Ballads

Susan J. Wolfson

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

Popular Songs and Ballads

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


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This chapter explores Shelley's political poetics, considering The Mask of Anarchy: Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester, which was unpublishable in 1819 (or soon after). The poem was a medium for Shelley to vent his outrage over the attack against labourers and their families who had gathered at St Peter's Field on 16 August 1819 for a peaceful demonstration. The chapter looks at Shelley's politics of the ‘unwritten story’ – the horizon of history that he projects in The Mask of Anarchy.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; political poetics; Mask of Anarchy

Article.  8535 words. 

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

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