Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Critical Heritage (The Collected by James E. Barcus

By James E. Barcus

The severe background gathers jointly a wide physique of serious assets on significant figures in literature. every one quantity provides modern responses to a writer's paintings, allowing pupil and researcher to learn the fabric themselves.

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The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register (No. 38) however, asserted that the characters with one exception are not only believable, but truly life-like. Shelley ‘has at least shown himself capable…of endowing human characters with life, sympathy, and passion. ’ The character of Beatrice stands out, of course, and intrigued the critics. 33 The Theatrical Inquisitor (No. 37) quoted her outbursts following the incestuous encounter with her father as evidence of fine and plausible character portrayal.

The Cenci gave the reviewers an opportunity to contrast Shelley’s work with the Elizabethan dramas they admired so highly, and also with ancient classical drama. Although modern critics would find their readings of these earlier tragedies difficult to accept and often facile, the reviewer for The London Magazine (No. 35 As the London critic notes, the essential distinction between earlier tragedy and Shelley’s version is the loss of transcendental order and supernatural authority. Writers like Shelley, he says, ‘leave the nature of man bare and defenceless….

These poets are really the native stream of English poetry, for they have rejected the influence of the French. ’ Among the reviews of Alastor, the most important and most friendly appeared in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (No. 24), and may have been written by John Gibson Lockhart. ’27 Shelley, perhaps with false modesty, says the ‘praise would 13 INTRODUCTION have given me more pleasure if it had been less excessive,’ and indeed the reviewer does defend Shelley vigorously. ’ The reviewer’s finest praise comes as he damns The Quarterly Review for its earlier review of The Revolt of Islam.

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