Percy Bysshe Shelley

Paul Foot Speaks: The Revolutionary Percy Bysshe Shelley!!!

Paul Foot Speaks: The Revolutionary Percy Bysshe Shelley!!!

This is Paul Foot’s speech to the London Marxism Conference of 1981. His objective is to reconnect the left with Shelley. He does so in a surprising and original manner which is altogether convincing. Foot ably and competently traces the evolution of the modern left and demonstrates how it became disconnected from “the masses,” from real people with real-world concerns and issues. He longs for the “enthusiasm” that Shelley brought to the table. If ever there was a convincing “call to arms” that involves educating one’s self in the philosophy of a poet dead for 200 years, this is it.

Professor Michael Demson on the Real-World Impact of Shelley's Writing. A Summary by Jonathan Kerr.

Professor Michael Demson on the Real-World Impact of Shelley's Writing. A Summary by Jonathan Kerr.

Shelley’s poetry, Michael Demson argues, gave American workers a kind of writing that helped them to understand the political and economic forces to which they were subjected. “The Mask of Anarchy” was especially important in this context: written in easy-to-understand language, this poem attacks the power imbalances that helped to keep the powerful empowered and the poor disenfranchised. The conditions that made this sort of thing possible when Shelley lived—corrupt legal systems, unequal access to education, and working conditions that kept labourers underpaid and vulnerable—remained largely unchanged a century later in America. This is why, Demson alleges, a poem like “The Mask of Anarchy” could act as such a catalyzing force for New York’s industrial workers, not only providing common people with a language for understanding their problems, but also helping them to build a sense of community.

Frankenstein, a Stage Adaptation. Review by Anna Mercer

Frankenstein, a Stage Adaptation. Review by Anna Mercer

The last stage production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I saw was a wonderful experience. The Royal Opera House’s ballet version of the novel was captivating and reflected the text’s themes of pursuit and terror with a striking intensity.[i] I’m always wary of adaptations of things I love, but after my positive experience at the ballet in London, I decided to go along to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when I was visiting New York. This new production by Ensemble for the Romantic Century was held in the Pershing Square Signature Center, a lovely venue. But the play itself was a disappointment overall, with only a few redeeming features.

Paul Foot Speaks: The Revolutionary Percy Bysshe Shelley!!!

Paul Foot Speaks: The Revolutionary Percy Bysshe Shelley!!!

This is Paul Foot’s speech to the London Marxism Conference of 1981. His objective is to reconnect the left with Shelley. He does so in a surprising and original manner which is altogether convincing. Foot ably and competently traces the evolution of the modern left and demonstrates how it became disconnected from “the masses,” from real people with real-world concerns and issues. He longs for the “enthusiasm” that Shelley brought to the table. If ever there was a convincing “call to arms” that involves educating one’s self in the philosophy of a poet dead for 200 years, this is it.

Why the Shelley Conference? By Anna Mercer

Why the Shelley Conference? By Anna Mercer

The Shelley Conference takes place in London at Institute for English Studies on the 15th and 16th of September.  The keynote speakers are Prof. Nora Crook, Prof Kelvin Everest and Prof. Michael O’Neill. The conference is open to everyone - which is just how Shelley would have liked it.  He would have also liked the fact that he and his wife are treated as co-equals and creative collaborators.  I myself am honoured to be part of the conference and will be speaking on what I call "Romantic Resistance" - Shelley's strategies for opposing political and religious tyrannies.  They are surprisingly applicable to our times!  Here is co-organizer Anna Mercer on how this amazing conference came

Sir Humphrey Davy and the Romantics - an Online Course

Sir Humphrey Davy and the Romantics - an Online Course

Professor Sharon Ruston of Lancaster University is offering a free online course through Future Learn called "Humphry Davy: Laughing Gas, Literature, and the Lamp".  These types of course are fun and informative. If you are interested in Shelley you will want to learn more about Davy because Shelley studied him closely.  Shelley was one of the last great polymaths - he was well versed with a range of subjects that dwarfs most of his famous contemporaries.  Science was one of them.  To understand Shelley fully, you need to understand his interest in science - this course can help you to do this.

William Godwin: Political Justice, Anarchism and the Romantics

William Godwin: Political Justice, Anarchism and the Romantics

Yet at least in the permanence of the printed word Godwin’s influence on Shelley remains. It is most apparent in Shelley’s political poems, which echo Godwin’s views on the state and his anarchistic vision of society.

Percy Bysshe Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland - by Sinéad Fitzgibbon

Percy Bysshe Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland - by Sinéad Fitzgibbon

On the evening of 12 February 1812, Shelley arrived in Ireland after a long and difficult crossing, accompanied by his young wife, Harriet, and her sister, Eliza.  Taking first-floor lodgings at 7 Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) in the centre of Dublin, Shelley turned his considerable energies to the task of finding a printer prepared to facilitate the publication of his recently-completed pamphlet, An Address to the Irish People. [You can find the text here] This was no small task considering the tract contained sentiments which could very well be viewed as seditious by the British authorities. Nonetheless, find a printer he did and by the end of his first week, Shelley had in his possession 1,500 copies of his address.

Teaching Percy Bysshe Shelley, by Anna Mercer

Teaching Percy Bysshe Shelley, by Anna Mercer

As an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool, I was given A Defence of Poetry to read for a seminar that – and this sounds hyperbolic, but is in reality no exaggeration – I now realise in retrospect changed my life.