Editing Shelley

Michael Rossington

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

Editing Shelley

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


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This chapter first considers the challenges of the editing of Shelley's prose and poetry since his death in 1822. Part of the problem lies in the consequences of the often unsatisfactory way his works were published in his lifetime. Since the mid-twentieth century, most scholarly editors of English literary works have sought to produce texts that represent as closely as possible their author's final intentions, and in so doing adopted W. W. Greg's ‘rationale of copy-text’ as a guide. However, this approach is often unworkable in Shelley's case, mainly because the texts of many poems published in his lifetime do not represent his intentions, especially in matters of punctuation. The discussions then turn to various editions of Shelley's poems and prose.

Keywords: Percy Bysshe Shelley; Shelley's poems; Shelley's prose; poetry; editing

Article.  6263 words. 

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

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