Rousseau’s Impact on Shelley Figuring the Written Self

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Examines the literary relationship between Rousseau and Shelley as it presents itself historically, intertextually, and in relation to language theory. Provides the reader with close original readings of several major works by Shelley: Queen Mab, Alastor, Julian and Maddalo, The Sensitive Plant and The Triumph of Life. Finally, Shelley's search for a suitable figure through whom he sought to examine the nature of identity is generalized into an exploration of Romantic subjectivity and written expressions of the self. Such an analysis of romantic notions of identity and subjectivity has broad significance for the study of Romanticism as a whole.


". . . fills a gap both in Shelley criticism and in studies in Romanticism by exploring fully the relations between the poet and the writer he not only claimed as one of his most important precursors but also idealized as ‘the greatest man the world has produced since Milton'. . . . Lee's book is the first to explore that relation in detail through the whole of Shelley's poetic life, and to show both its growing complexity and its shifting nature." – Donald S. Hair

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Foreword; Introduction

1.Representations of Rousseau in the Shelleys, Godwin and Wollstonecraft

2.Language: Arbitrary, Organic or Both?

3."Nature's Silent Eloquence": Disembodied Organic Language in Queen Mab

4."Some Lone Ghost, Nature's Messenger": Rousseau and Organic Language in Alastor

5.La Nouvelle Héloïse and Shelley's Romantic Idealism in Julian and Maddalo and The Sensitive Plant

6."The Form and Character of Mortal Mould": Shifting Identities in The Triumph of Life

Bibliography, Index

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