Percy Shelley: Poems

Romantic Politics: Writing Politics in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and the Poetry of Percy Shelley College

Revolution was a key idea to the philosophy of the Romantic writers, whether it be social, cultural or aesthetic. It is in the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, however, that the most overt revolutionary political statements are made while Frankenstein, the masterpiece novel by his wife Mary, interacts with politics through innumerable layers and allegory. Through their work, politics and literature become intertwined, though there a specific differences in how this connection is made in their contrasting works.

It was not in Percy Shelley’s nature to turn a blind eye towards the injustice he saw in the world but he would instead directly attack those who enforced tyranny. As Paul Foot notes in his introduction to Shelley’s Revolutionary Year, “Shelley’s enormous talents were not used to butter up the rulers of society … but to attack those rulers from every advantage point.”[1] This overt political confrontation is evident in his sonnet ‘England in 1819’ where Shelley directly attacks and criticizes the political establishment. The opening line, “An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King” serves as caricature of the monarchy, immediately setting a critical tone to the poem.[2] Later in the poem Shelley calls the British...

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