Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle   By: (1873-1958)

Book cover

First Page:

THE HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE

LXXVII SHELLEY, GODWIN AND THEIR CIRCLE

EDITORS OF THE HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE

PROFESSOR GILBERT MURRAY, O.M., LL.D., F.B.A. JULIAN S. HUXLEY, D.Sc., F.R.S. PROFESSOR G. N. CLARK, LL.D., F.B.A.

SHELLEY, GODWIN AND THEIR CIRCLE

By H. N. BRAILSFORD M.A.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

First published in 1913, and reprinted in 1919, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1936 and 1942

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND 7

II THOMAS PAINE 56

III WILLIAM GODWIN AND THE REVOLUTION 78

IV "POLITICAL JUSTICE" 94

V GODWIN AND THE REACTION 142

VI GODWIN AND SHELLEY 168

VII MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT 186

VIII SHELLEY 212

BIBLIOGRAPHY 252

INDEX 255

SHELLEY, GODWIN, AND THEIR CIRCLE

CHAPTER I

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND

The history of the French Revolution in England begins with a sermon and ends with a poem. Between that famous discourse by Dr. Richard Price on the love of our country, delivered in the first excitement that followed the fall of the Bastille, and the publication of Shelley's Hellas there stretched a period of thirty two years. It covered the dawn, the clouding and the unearthly sunset of a hope. It begins with the grave but enthusiastic prose of a divine justly respected by earnest men, who with a limited horizon fulfilled their daily duties in the city. It ends in the rapt vision, the magical music of a singer, who seemed as he sang to soar beyond the range of human ears. The hope passes from the confident expectation of instant change, through the sobrieties of disillusionment and the recantations of despair, to the iridescent dreams of a future which has taken wing and made its home in a fairy world.

In 1789 when Dr. Price preached to his ardent congregation of Nonconformist Radicals in the meeting house at the Old Jewry, the prospect was definite and the place of the millennium was merely the England over which George III. ruled. The hope was a robust but pedestrian "mental traveller," and its limbs wore the precise garments of political formulæ. It looked for honest Parliaments and manhood suffrage, for the triumph of democracy and the abolition of war. Its scene as Wordsworth put it, was

Not in Utopia, subterraneous fields, Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where, But in the very world which is the world Of all of us, the place where in the end We find our happiness, or not at all.

The impetus of its own aspiration carried it swiftly beyond the prosaic demand for Parliamentary Reform. It evolved its programme for the reconstruction of all human institutions, and projected the amendment of human nature itself. America had made an end of kings and France was in the full tide of revolution. Nothing was too mighty for this new begotten hope, and the path to human perfectibility stretched as plain as the narrow road to Bunyan's Heavenly City.

There followed the phase when persecution from alarmed defenders of things as they are, disgust at the failures of the revolution in France, and contempt for the futilities of the revolution at home, drove the new movement into as many refuges as its votaries had temperaments. For some there was cynicism, for others recantation. "The French Revolution" as Hazlitt put it, "was the only match that ever took place between philosophy and experience; and waking from the trance of theory we hear the words Truth, Reason, Virtue, Liberty, with the same indifference or contempt that a cynic who has married a jilt or a termagant listens to the rhapsodies of lovers... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books