by Jacqueline Mulhallen - £12.99 Pluto Press (2015)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780745334615 | ISBN 10: 074533461x
Today, Percy Bysshe Shelley has memorials in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey and at Oxford University. Most famous for poems such as 'To A Skylark', 'Ozymandias' and 'The Mask of Anarchy', he is considered a major Romantic poet with important new editions of his work currently being produced. But this was not always the case. During his short and tragic life he was regarded with loathing as an immoral atheist and his work received damning reviews as a result.
His was a story of extremes – the radical nature of his convictions was astounding since he was the son of a wealthy landowner and set to become a Whig MP. A focus on his belief in sexual freedom and vegetarianism often eclipses his informed internationalist and revolutionary politics. Although he wrote when the working class was in its infancy, he clearly grasped how workers – and women – were oppressed.
Admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, W. B. Yeats and Karl Marx, Shelley’s legacy remains with us today – his words have been used by popular movements from the Chartists and the Suffragettes to Tiananmen Square, the Poll Tax protesters and modern Greek solidarity movements. This new biography by playwright and activist Jacqueline Mulhallen will emphasise the political, revolutionary side of Shelley’s life and will be a valuable contribution to the existing literature on this important artist.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2015)
In booklists: Activism & Resistance, Writers and Poet's Lives and Works, In categories: Politics & Philosophy, Changing the World, Anti-Capitalism & Global Inequality, History & Biography, Poetry & Writing,