Chamonix

The Revolutionary Percy Shelley in His Time and Ours

The Revolutionary Percy Shelley in His Time and Ours

"I am a lover of mankind, a democrat and an atheist."When Shelley wrote these words in the hotel register at Chamonix, he was, as PMS Dawson has suggested deliberately, intentionally and provocatively “nailing his colours to the mast”.  He knew full well people would see these words and that they would inflame passions. The words, however may require some context and explanation.  Many people have sought to diminish the importance of these words and the circumstances under which they were written.  Some modern scholars have even ridiculed him.  I think his choice of words was very deliberate and central to how he defined himself and how wanted the world to think of him.  They may well have been the words he was most famous (or infamous) for in his lifetime.

The Shelley Conference - London, 15-16 September 2017

The Shelley Conference - London, 15-16 September 2017

On Friday and Saturday the 15th and 16th of September, in London, the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at University of York, is presenting a two day conference that celebrates the writings of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I will be speaking at this conference on the topic of "Romantic Resistance". My presentation will demonstrate how Shelley’s politics, his philosophical skepticism and his theory of the imagination combine to offer some potent solutions for the troubles of the early 21st Century.  Given recent events, it is time that we cast a fresh eye on romantic, specifically Shelleyan, theories of resistance.

"I am a Lover of Humanity, a Democrat and an Atheist.” What did Shelley Mean?

"I am a Lover of Humanity, a Democrat and an Atheist.” What did Shelley Mean?

The "catch phrase" I have used for the Shelley section of my blog ("Atheist. Lover of Humanity. Democrat.") may require some explanation.  The words originated with Shelley himself, but when did he write it, where did he write it and most important why did he write it.  Many people have sought to diminish the importance of these words and the circumstances under which they were written.  Some modern scholars have even ridiculed him.  I think his choice of words was very deliberate and central to how he defined himself and how wanted the world to think of him.  They may well have been the words he was most famous (or infamous) for in his lifetime.Five explosive little words that harbour a universe of meaning and significance.

Hotel Register in Which Shelley Declared Himself to be an Atheist: FOUND

Hotel Register in Which Shelley Declared Himself to be an Atheist: FOUND

On 19 July 2016, the University of Cambridge made a startling and almost completely unheralded announcement.  They were in possession of a page from the register of a hotel in Chamonix: not just any page and not just any hotel. The hotel was the Hotel de Villes de Londres and the page in question was the one upon which Percy Bysshe Shelley had inscribed his famous declaration that he was an atheist, a lover of humanity and a democrat. Not a copy of it….THE page.