First published in 2002. This book surveys how and to what effect Shelley uses erotic narratives to mask political rhetoric within his attempts to describe and bring forth utopia. Posing erotic relationships as both an exemplar of the inequities of power and a paradigm for alternative social orders that dismantle oppressive structures, it argues Shelley’s work imagines a space where the rigidity of tyranny succumbs to the liberation of ecstatic union. From the Romantics to the Aesthetes, it argues that this model contributed to a counter-tradition in British literature which situates the erotic as a trope for political discourse. This work will be of interest to students of literature.
List of abbreviations; Acknowledgements; Preface; Chapter I Introduction Situating the Erotic: The Places and Spaces of Excess; Part One: The Problem; Chapter II Shelley’s Agenda Writ Large: Reconsidering Œdipus Tyrannus: or, Swellfoot the Tyrant Tyranny Liberty Language Sexual Transgression; Chapter III Tyranny and Liberation, or Rigidity and Ooziness: Physical and Psychological Landscapes in the Cenci and Julian and Maddalo Love, Landscape, and Revolution The Vanishing Points of Patriarchy Private and Public, Family and Society Torture, Retaliation, and Eroticism The Feminine Community Landscape, Psychology, and Unconnectedess Somatic Inscription (Body, Text, Madness) Vanishings; Part Two: The Solution; Chapter IV Revolutionary Landscapes and the Politics of Love: Epipsychidion as Erotic Cartography Love The Other The Female and the Feminine Androgyny Rejection of the Imaginary "…honeyed words betray" Reconfiguration; Chapter V Mapping the Ideal: Pleasure and Displacement in Laon and Cynthia and Prometheus Unbound Pedagogy Eroticism Landscape and Liminality Prometheus as Redeemer Language, Love and Revolution Landscape and Utopia; Chapter VI Conclusion Re-tracing Seduction: The Influence of Shelley on Nineteenth Century British Culture Shelley’s Contemporaries The Pre-Raphaelites The Aesthetes; References; Index
Percy Shelley is widely considered one of the most important Romantic poets of the 19th Century and was a key influence on the Victorian and pre-Raphaelite poets in the century following his death in 1822. However, for many years his writing was largely ignored in the mainstream due to the radical politics he espoused and it is only in relatively recent times he has become universally admired.
Routledge Library Editions: Percy Shelley collects a broad range of scholarship ranging from examinations of Shelley’s style and political intentions to an assessment of his impact on the broader Romantic Movement. This set reissues 4 books on Percy Shelley originally published between 1945 and 2009 and will be of interest to students of literature and literary history.