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New Shelley Poem


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#16 Ray

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:36 AM

As to the poem's importance, “Professor Woudhuysen said that, while some of the poem’s language was reminiscent of Shelley’s other work, the regularity of the couplets is uncharacteristic. That, he suggests, may be explained by the pamphlet being “some sort of collaboration” between Shelley and his sister, Elizabeth.” You then begin to wonder if the newspaper reports of its status are little more that a series of ‘puffs’.


Well again, we won't know until we can read it. I for one would find a collaboration b/t Shelley and Elizabeth fascinating and valuable--you seem to be implying that the collaboraiton lessens the poem's asthetic or intellectual value. Why?

#17 dirac

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 03:58 AM

Apparently the TLS took the position that they weren't going to fuss over a poem when no one knew if it was any good, a rather narrow view, I would say. It's Shelley's, and his sometime collaboration with Elizabeth (I think he wrote with her before) is surely of interest even if it's unlikely to be an undiscovered classic. Of course, we'll never know, etc.

#18 dirac

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:42 AM

Any other views? Speak up, folks, pro or con. :)



#19 bart

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:20 AM

I would have thought that more than one copy of this pamphlet has survived and it is highly probable that at least one copy exists somewhere in a UK Government collection, given what was seen as the significantly seditious nature of the work and the recent memory of "The War of American Independence", the French revolution and of course the Napoleonic Wars which were still in full flood.

I suspect you are right. Since the pamphlet identifies the author only as "A Gentleman of the University of Oxford," archivists and librarians would have had no reason to treat it as something special. I suspect that a few libraries are combing through their inventories right now. Let's hope.

Apparently the TLS took the position that they weren't going to fuss over a poem when no one knew if it was any good, a rather narrow view, I would say. It's Shelley's, and his sometime collaboration with Elizabeth (I think he wrote with her before) is surely of interest even if it's unlikely to be an undiscovered classic. Of course, we'll never know, etc.

Narrow, yes. But reasonable, too. There's so much undistinguished polemical verse from this period, even from fine poets. It might be stirring; it might give insight's into the development of Shelley's radicalism and as a poet; or, it might be something whose sole value comes from the fact that "Shelley" wrote it. I vote for "Wait and See."

Meanwhile, there are two undeniable aspects to this story:

-- on the positive side for all of us: the literary public is getting involved, which will put pressure on the owner and/or future owners to treat this responsibly

-- also: the dealer is getting an awful lot of publicity, always good news for those whose goal is maximizing the sale price.

#20 dirac

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:01 PM

-- also: the dealer is getting an awful lot of publicity, always good news for those whose goal is maximizing the sale price.


Quaritch has already sold the item, which is now in private hands, price presumably maximized.

I suspect that a few libraries are combing through their inventories right now. Let's hope.

Narrow, yes. But reasonable, too. There's so much undistinguished polemical verse from this period, even from fine poets. It might be stirring; it might give insight's into the development of Shelley's radicalism and as a poet; or, it might be something whose sole value comes from the fact that "Shelley" wrote it. I vote for "Wait and See."


The matter hardly needs to be put to a vote as far as waiting and seeing is concerned. :) The physical existence of the poem and the pamphlet has been known for four years. Rosen's point was that undiscovered work by "Shelley" (wondering about the quotes? I don't think anyone is questioning that Shelley, possibly with Sis, wrote it) is of value regardless of its significance once we are in a position to assess that fully. "Hey, it might not be any good," is correct as far as it goes but beside the point and distinctly unhelpful, particularly coming from a powerful literary organ.

From the article by Woudhuysen:

It is not unusual for manuscripts which are thought to have been lost to reappear – by their very nature they can be hard to read, hard to identify and may easily be passed over – but it is extremely rare for printed books of any period to be rediscovered after an absence of 200 years. The Quaritch copy of the Poetical Essay is all the more remarkable for its unexpected emergence and for the insights a full study of it will give into Shelley's development as a poet and political thinker.


Sounds worth a peek, I should say.

#21 bart

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:20 PM

From a letter from the poet and advocate for poetry, Michael Rosen, to the TLS (Times Literary Supplement), 7/30/10 edition.

Now, four years later, it's still hidden from view. I don't think this is good enough. I find myself wondering what the community of Shelley scholars make of it. How many Shelley students are mid-doctorate? How many researchers are mid-book, making statements about Shelley that would need to be altered in the light of what is in the poem? And then, what about the rest of us? We rely on Shelly experts for insights into what Shelley was up to when he wrote it, what happened as a consequence and how it fits isn with the oeuvre. I, for one, would have liked you [the TLS?] to have been agitating on our behalf for the poem to be put in the public domain. Shouldn't it belong to all of us? And does anyone know where it is?



#22 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:56 PM

For comparison, here is the text of "The Necessity of Atheism", also written while he was at Oxford.

http://www.infidels....of_atheism.html

#23 bart

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 04:13 PM

Thanks Mme. Hermine. I hope the Finnery pamphlet is on a par with Shelley's gloriously written contribution to the theism/atheism debate. (If only the grumpy, ungenerous Hitchens brothers -- Christopher the atheist and William the theist -- could have used Shelley as a model.)

I really like the section that begins ...

Life and the world, or whatever we call that which we are and feel, is an astonishing thing. The mist of familiarity obscures from us the wonder of our being. We are struck with admiration at some of its transient modifications, but it is itself the great miracle.



#24 dirac

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:40 PM

From a letter from the poet and advocate for poetry, Michael Rosen, to the TLS (Times Literary Supplement), 7/30/10 edition.

Now, four years later, it's still hidden from view. I don't think this is good enough. I find myself wondering what the community of Shelley scholars make of it. How many Shelley students are mid-doctorate? How many researchers are mid-book, making statements about Shelley that would need to be altered in the light of what is in the poem? And then, what about the rest of us? We rely on Shelly experts for insights into what Shelley was up to when he wrote it, what happened as a consequence and how it fits isn with the oeuvre. I, for one, would have liked you [the TLS?] to have been agitating on our behalf for the poem to be put in the public domain. Shouldn't it belong to all of us? And does anyone know where it is?


Yes, Ray linked to an article by Rosen. It's the first post in this thread.

#25 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:49 AM

Just thought I'd mention that today is Shelley's 218th birthday! :tiphat:

#26 dirac

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:41 AM

Just thought I'd mention that today is Shelley's 218th birthday! :tiphat:


Thanks, Mme. Hermine. Quotes from the great man.


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