Francis Thompson

Shelleyana!! My Father's Shelley, Part Two

Shelleyana!! My Father's Shelley, Part Two

Shelley had an enormous impact on me and my dad's life - though we had radically different ideas about exactly who Shelley was (which was the subject of part one of this essay). I want to explore this theme by digging into a photographic album I discovered among my father's effects after he died.  It is a slim volume entitled "Shelleyana".  I think we will find much to reflect upon, and Shelley may perhaps seem less remote and more immediate.

My Father's Shelley; a Tale of Two Shelleys

My Father's Shelley; a Tale of Two Shelleys

My father’s Shelley, as I VERY quickly discovered, was very different from mine. He loved the lyric poet.  He loved the Victorian version. He loved Mary’s sanitized version.  In a weird way he bought into Mathew Arnold's caricature of Shelley (“a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating his wings in a luminous void in vain.”) – and loved him the more for it.  He hated the idea that Shelley was a revolutionary.