Percy Shelley

Alastor
  • Poetic dispositions can be alienating from others because you are separated by thought and contemplation
    • so much occurring within the mind, that there is no time or need for company in others
  • Neo-Platonist – ideal forms exist elsewhere
    • what we see here are poor representations of the real truth
    • reality is much greater that our reception
    • sublime truth
  • Shelley claims to be an atheist – so where does this elsewhere lie?
    • not in afterlife – maybe in imagination
    • pursues the truths and wonders, but does not attribute or relate them to God
    • deeply concerned with concept of transformation from base state to a higher ideal in religion
    • some have found that atheists replace idea of God with another norm or concept such as Truth, aesthetic beauty
  • Privileges intellectual beauty
  • Protagonist travels to lands that Shelley himself has never been to
Mont Blanc
  • “With a sound but half its own” – other half is elsewhere, do not receive fullness of the experience or meaning
  • suggests that silence and solitude are not vacancy to the human mind – posed the question of what if they were?
  • “secret strength of things” – these scenes and beauties occur unobserved but still hold meaning
    • could mean nature’s ability to continue existing as part of something
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
  • In first verse-paragraph, he refers to an awe-inspiring, unseen power which touches every person
    • perceived inconstantly by humans – not able to grasp it fully
    • a scene  itself can bring truth
    • God and ghosts are what humans have devised to deal with the inconstancy of truth
    • intellectual mind, in a way, creates the beauty surrounding us
Ode to the West Wing
  • resurrection metaphor timed around the season of Christmas
    • cyclical nature of seasons
  • recognizes destructive and preservative properties of the wind (duality)
  • discusses the role of the wind on land, sky, and sea, emphasizing its all-encompassing power
  • turns focus to himself
    • almost as if he is praying to the cloud to refresh him, release him from the exhaustion of his hours
    • seeks inspiration from the wind
    • the wind becomes the Muse-like figure

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