Origins of Evil

Frederick Burwick

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

Origins of Evil

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


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This chapter focuses on Shelley's conceptions of evil. In his exploration of continental literature, Shelley considered the prominent expositions of the character of evil in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust and Pedro Calderón de la Barca's El mágico prodigioso, or in Jean–Jacques Rousseau's account of the social propagation of evil. But in these works he found the problematic nature of evil exacerbated rather than resolved. The analysis includes Shelley's works such as Prometheus Unbound, A Defence of Poetry, and Peter Bell the Third.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; English poets; Romantic poets; evil; Goethe; Jean–Jacques Rousseau

Article.  8960 words. 

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

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