Percy Bysshe Shelley

  1. Who was Percy Shelley?
    1. Politics:
      1. Progressive
      2. Controversial
      3. Antagonistic
      4. Rebellious
      5. Radical
    2. Poetics:
      1. Full of hope and faith in humanity
    3. Life:
      1. Younger generation of the Romantics
      2. Expelled out of Oxford for his Atheist Essay
      3. Distinciton between him and other Romantic Poets:
        1. More optimistic
  2. What does he write (Motifs and Themes)?
    1. Role of the Poet
      1. Heroic and Visionary
      2. Seizing the role of the poet for this very reason to find truth
      3. Belief in its leading to social change
      4. “Doomed to Suffer” like the Christ
        1. Core goodness, very lofty
    2. Power of Nature
      1. Not always a friend of human kind
      2. Understanding that Nature can destroy
    3. The Human Mind
      1. Nature conflicts with Human Mind
      2. Natural power can be imposed onto human because human mind processes it??
        1. The realization of the trifling existence of human
    4. Ghosts and Spirits
    5. Christ Figure
      1. Took issue with organized religion
      2. Radical elements of the Christ figure, not the church itself
  3. “Ode to The West Wind”
    1. Aeoleon Harp
    2. Breath of the season of automn, dead leaves, diseases and ghosts
      1. Brings the idea of corpes and death
      2. These all need to die – so that east wind can come!
      3. West wind carries his thoughts just like the dead leaves to the rest of the world
        1. How he really wants to be remembered
  4. “Alastor; or The Spirit of Solitude
    1. A twist of his very optimistic tone
    2. Questioning his role as a poet
    3. Alastor, Mount Blanc, Intellectual Beauty, Ode to the West Wind, Adonis?


  1. Shelley: Neo-platonist, idea we see are somewhere else, not laid here in this world
    1. A sign of a sublimer truth, Shelley more concerned with the idea of sublime than any others
    2. Very concerned with the idea of trenscendence
    3. Sublime Truth –> Intellectual Beauty (Imagination)
    4. The Atheists would place their divine somewhere else, this includes Shelley
      1. Endless pursuit of excellence
      2. Have to continue moving on
      3. Extremely exciting
        1. –Romantic values in the Lovejoy Essay
      4. Journey of life in a circular sense
    5. Alastor as an intellectual journey
  2. Epigraph: I was not yet in love, and I loved to love, I saught what I might love, loving to love.
    1. Looking for something to love, the continuous quest inside the mind
    2. Byron’s journeys are journeys are epicarious kind, things happen, but not reflection
      1. The rich honey is a kind of spiritual grace, spiritual understanding – Shelley
        1. The complexity of his belief, not rejecting the spirituality, but the restraints

Mont Blanc

  1. “The source of human thought its tribute brings /Of waters—with a sound but half its own,”
    1. The other half is something exotic and doesn’t belong to this world
    2. Materialist view of life and human, the secret strength is actually the existence of human being
  2. “The secret strength of things /Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome /Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!/ And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,/ If to the human mind’s imaginings /Silence and solitude were vacancy?”
    1. I think: secret strength of things = the silence and solitude, the negative spaces that are carved out from consciousness, or beyond consciousness

Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

  1. Don’t want the grave to be an end – the nothingness and meaninglessness of life, how do we resolve it?
  2. Religion itself is impossible without imagination

Ode to the West Wind 

  1. Aeolean Harp: the personified wind bringing Spring, the wind playing the forest
    1. Lyre has no intention, no ego, no internal spirit
      1.  A removal of one’s own identity, but that objectivity makes it a perfect means of expression
      2. Nature as an aesthetic experience intead of the ultimate truth?
      3. Breath what is fed into one, but not one’s own creation??

To Shelley, having institutionalized religious system is to localize God, an act that constricts the idea of divine. Nature doesn’t constrict the idea of Divine; if there were actual divine, the human-invented one is not real. A priest of Intellectual Beauty; while Wordsworth is the priest of Nature.


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