In what is surely one of the most unusual but at the same time coolest uses of Shelley's poetry, English fashion designer John Alexander Skelton deployed Shelley's Mask of Anarchy in his recent runway show. The circumstances are quite extraordinary.
WHO ARE YOU IN SHELLEY'S ROMANTIC ZODIAC?!?!
Do you want to know which love poem rules your sign? Which poem speaks to the heart of your loved one? Well look no further. We got ya covered. Happy Valentine’s Day Shelley Nation! Follow the link and dig in.
At last! Someone has undertaken a close reading of Shelley’s most romantic poems in order to match them with the 12 astrological signs! Who did this amazing thing? The Real Percy Bysshe Shelley did - that’s who.
One of my favourite bands from the 1970s was Buzzcocks, an English outfit fronted by a man named Pete Shelley. Pete had been born as Peter McNeish; but when he took to the stage he changed his name to honour his favourite romantic poet. I was enthralled by this idea and when I wrote my masters thesis, I included three musical epigraphs: two from the Sex Pistols and one from Buzzcocks. It was perhaps a stretch - however in my youthful rebellious mind I thought it was apt.
But was it really so far-fetched to tie together punk music and romantic poetry? To test this, I thought I would be fun to have a quick glance at one of the classics of the era to see if there are, in fact, any Shelleyan overtones. That classic? Clampdown by The Clash from the album London Calling. Let’s dig in.
It is my great hope that Frankenreads will open a doorway not just to the work of Mary Shelley but all of the Romantics - and Percy in particular. Percy’s political philosophy, his skepticism, his belief in the revolutionary value of empathy and his concept of a cultivated, revolutionary imagination have much to teach us about how to deal with an age of tyrants, massive concentration of wealth and fake news - an age much like his own.
In the early summer of 2017, I received a letter from the daughter of the noted Shelley scholar Roland Duerksen. Susan had read my article “My Father’s Shelley” and it had struck a chord. She wanted to connect me with her father, now 91 years old and living in New Oxford, Ohio. Roland is the author of two noteworthy and important books on Shelley: "Shelleyan Ideas in Victorian Literature" and "Shelley's Poetry of Involvement". His analysis is penetrating and nuanced, the style conversational and accessible. But it is his overall approach which makes him different, it is imbued with a humanity that reflects well both on himself and his subject. This much I knew, but I knew less about the man himself. I was thrilled that Susan had reached out to me, it was a chance to meet one of the great Shelleyans, but I had no idea whatsoever of the magic which lay in wait for me.
Welcome to my inaugural, year end "Shelleyan Top Ten" list. The eligibility criteria for an appearance on this list is pretty straight forward (and subjective!) First the event or occurrence must have contributed to raising the awareness of Percy Bysshe Shelley among the general public. Second, it also needs to have come to my attention - which is not omniscient (this means my list is not necessarily definitive!). Finally, I also have ranked on the basis of whether the moment was unusual or unexpectedly brilliant.
In any event, these sorts of lists are supposed to be fun and are designed to provoke debate and conversation. So let the discussion begin.