Tag Archives: Percy Shelley

A Dear Friend Is Made One with Nature

My dear, dear friend Kate Chandler died yesterday. I am turning to Percy Shelley’s, a poem she loved, as I mourn her.

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In Defense of The Merchant of Venice

Percy Shelley believes that great art transcends the prejudices of its time, even when it is cloaked in them. If he is right, then “Merchant of Venice” is less of a problem play than many people consider it.

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Can Lit Also Be a Force for Evil? A Debate

The classics are capable to doing great good but can they also do harm? Even as they powerfully open up the mind to new possibilities, can they also close it down? A debate.

Posted in Aristotle, Austen (Jane), Plato, Shelley (Percy), Sidney (Sir Philip) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How Poets Are the Legislators of the World

Shelley saw great literature as changing the way we see reality. Sometimes, however, it takes hundreds of years for this to be evident.

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Poetry Enlarges the Moral Imagination

Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry” makes one of the strongest cases in history for how poetry changes the world.

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Hiding behind the “I” in Lit Essays

Using “I” in literature essays doesn’t necessarily lead to more engagement with the work.

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Once We Memorized Poetry

Memorizing poetry used to be standard classroom practice and poetry was widely popular before the snobs came in.

Posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Keats (John), Kilmer (Joyce), Kipling (Rudyard), Riley (James Whitcomb), Shelley (Percy), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Wordsworth (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shelley and Non-Violent Resistance

Blogger Austin Allen credits Shelley’s poem “Masque” with setting in motion the idea of non-violent resistance that we are currently seeing employed throughout the Arab world.

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Eric Cantor and Famous Literary Sneers

If you’ve been paying any attention to America’s budget battles, you know that Congressional Republicans are currently engaged in a dangerous game of chicken with President Obama over raising the debt ceiling. Today’s post on the subject features a parallel with Macbeth and a glance at famous literary sneers.

Posted in Bronte (Emily), Fielding (Henry), Shakespeare (William), Shelley (Percy) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Touching the Divine through Poetry

Think of religious visionaries as the early poets, those who have found ways to gesture towards (not encapsulate!) the divine. The religious poets who have come after help keep religious language from getting stale.

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I Weep for Adonais–He Is Dead

When W. B. Yeat died on January 28, 1939, a despondent W. H. Auden wrote, “The day of his death was a dark cold day,” an instance of how we look to the weather for confirmation of our distress. The idea of a dying friend slipping away without leaving a trace is an unsettling one. Much better if the weather functions as a second witness, which it seems to do if it metaphorically expresses how we feel. When my good friend Alan Paskow died on Tuesday, I latched on to the fact that the day began with a tornado alert and that we were lashed by slashing rain for much of the morning.

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Song to the Men and Women of Bahrain

As the remarkable uprisings continue to erupt across the Middle East, I turn for a third time to the revolutionary poetry of Percy Shelley.  When one looks at his time period, one finds a number of modern day parallels. Napoleon’s wars, although imperial, still carried the ideas of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” into the rest of […]

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Egypt’s Glorious Phantom Bursts Through

I’ve been looking for literature that can speak to the earth-shaking events going on in Egypt. Poetry seems almost unable to do justice to the joy that people are feeling as they revel in a vision of liberty. Maybe this sonnet by Percy Shelley gets at their breakthrough. On August 16, 1819, a large but […]

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Egypt’s Mubarak, Colossal Wreck

As Egypt, following the lead of Tunisia (see my post here), teeters on the verge of revolution, everyone seems to be looking to different historical pasts to predict the future. My former Carleton classmate Kai Bird fears that Barack Obama will repeat the mistakes that Jimmy Carter made with the Shaw of Iran but adds […]

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Dancing to a Bright Star

Film Friday As this is Friday, I begin with a discussion of a film.  But as it is also the tenth anniversary of the drowning death of my 21-year-old son Justin, I plan to digress.  I trust you will allow me to embark on a bit of a ramble. The film I have chosen is […]

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Invading the Afterlife

My wife Julia and I visited the National Geographic Museum to see the Terracotta Warriors this past Friday. Even though only a few statues and artifacts from the vast archaeological digs in China were on display, we saw enough to be very impressed. Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, started constructing statues for […]

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Should Death Be Proud or Not?

John Donne               Last December, in writing on Margaret Edson’s play W;t, I noted that I didn’t think John Donne’s famous sonnet “Death Be Not Proud” would be very useful in helping someone handle death.  (The dying Donne scholar in W;t doesn’t turn to it.)  Since then, a friend pointed out that John Gunther’s 1949 book […]

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