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Notes to the Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley   By: (1797-1851)

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's work, "Notes to the Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley," is a remarkable compilation that offers brilliant insights into the mind of her late husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. This book stands as an essential addition to the collection of any poetry lover or scholar interested in understanding the context and significance of Percy Shelley's poems.

Shelley's comprehensive annotations provide readers with a deeper understanding of the poet's thoughts, intentions, and emotions behind his renowned works. Mary Shelley, in her perceptive commentary, delves into the literary and historical landscape that shaped Percy's writing, shedding light on the political and social issues of his time. These elucidations offer readers a richer experience, enhancing their comprehension and appreciation of Shelley's words.

What sets this book apart is Mary Shelley's ability to weave her own perspective into the interpretation of Percy's poems while maintaining an objective approach. This balance ensures that the notes remain informative rather than intrusive, providing readers with valuable background information without overly influencing their interpretations. Such a careful balance between objectivity and subjectivity is a formidable feat, and Mary Shelley accomplishes it masterfully.

Furthermore, Mary Shelley incorporates personal anecdotes and experiences, giving readers glimpses into her relationship with Percy and providing a more intimate understanding of his poetry. These intimate revelations create a bridge between the reader and the poet, deepening the emotional connection and allowing for a more profound appreciation of Shelley's work.

The book is impeccably organized, divided into sections that correspond to specific periods and themes in Percy Shelley's life. This enables readers to navigate the collection with ease, allowing for targeted exploration of their favorite poems or the works related to particular subjects. Additionally, the comprehensive index at the end of the book is a valuable reference tool, facilitating quick access to specific poems or themes.

One aspect that could enhance the reading experience would be the inclusion of the poems themselves. Although the book is intended as notes to accompany Percy Shelley's complete poetical works, having the actual poems interspersed throughout the text would have provided readers with a more seamless experience. Nevertheless, this is a minor limitation that does not significantly detract from the overall value of the work.

In conclusion, "Notes to the Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley" is an extraordinary contribution to the understanding and appreciation of one of the greatest Romantic poets in history. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's meticulous annotations provide readers with a wealth of information, insight, and emotion, inviting them into the world of Percy Shelley's poetry. This book stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Percy Bysshe Shelley and the intellectual prowess of Mary Shelley, making it an indispensable resource for literature enthusiasts and scholars alike.

First Page:







Obstacles have long existed to my presenting the public with a perfect edition of Shelley's Poems. These being at last happily removed, I hasten to fulfil an important duty, that of giving the productions of a sublime genius to the world, with all the correctness possible, and of, at the same time, detailing the history of those productions, as they sprang, living and warm, from his heart and brain. I abstain from any remark on the occurrences of his private life, except inasmuch as the passions which they engendered inspired his poetry. This is not the time to relate the truth; and I should reject any colouring of the truth. No account of these events has ever been given at all approaching reality in their details, either as regards himself or others; nor shall I further allude to them than to remark that the errors of action committed by a man as noble and generous as Shelley, may, as far as he only is concerned, be fearlessly avowed by those who loved him, in the firm conviction that, were they judged impartially, his character would stand in fairer and brighter light than that of any contemporary. Whatever faults he had ought to find extenuation among his fellows, since they prove him to be human; without them, the exalted nature of his soul would have raised him into something divine... Continue reading book >>

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