Book Cover of Shelley: Selected Poems and Prose

Shelley: Selected Poems and Prose

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The English Romantic Period in literature featured a towering group of excellent poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats. If we add in forerunners Burns and Blake, we have perhaps an unmatchable collection of writers for any era. Of these, Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the brightest and best, coupling a giant intellect with a highly emotional and impetuous nature. He was always a champion of liberty, but was largely ignored when he tried to promote political and social reform. He was wise enough, however, to realize that his efforts were ineffective, and he chose instead, not to attempt to reshape society, but to transform the individual, to inspire his readers to a greater love of beauty, of nature, and especially of each other. To this end, he poured forth a profusion of gorgeous verse overflowing with brilliant imagery, all aimed at uplifting the good and the beautiful, the free and the loving, while denouncing the social forces that tended to suppress them.

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Shelley's work was not widely read in his lifetime outside a small circle of friends, poets and critics. Most of his poetry, drama and fiction was published in editions of 250 copies which generally s...

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