Shelley on Love: Selected writings

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9780006550129: Shelley on Love: Selected writings

Richard Holmes brings together for the first time Shelley’s almost unknown prose writings as well as the better-known love poetry for which he is famous. The collection, which treats of love in all its forms and manifestations, presents on intellectual and emotional portrait of a great poet’s beliefs and personality.

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From the Back Cover:

In this book Richard Holmes brings together for the first time Shelley's almost unknown prose writings on love as well as the better-known love poetry for which he is famous. He argues that Shelley's conception of love lies at the heart of his radical views on social justice, political liberty, and poetry itself, and presents an intellectual and emotional portrait of a great poet's beliefs and personality developing from adolescent to the threshold of maturity, when, at the age of thirty, they were tragically cut short.

The collection, which is divided biographically into six thematic sections, gives not only a Romantic poet's view of romantic passion, but treats of love in all its forms and manifestations. Shelley's wonderfully graceful version of Plato's 'Symposium' is rescued from obscurity, and three telling extracts from his lesser-read long poems show his attitudes to love at critical points in his life.

The coolness and clarity of Shelley's prose, his powers of argument and of concrete description, and his fierce intellectual honesty are qualities rare in any age. His social, political and philosophical concerns are of the highest interest, and engage the fundamental questions of human relationship in a radically searching and imaginative spirit. As Richard Holmes writes Shelley's prose writings on love 'take us back to the deeper appreciation of his major poetry, and forward to the better comprehension of our own hearts'.

A new selection of Shelley's hauntingly beautiful love lyrics completes this edition.

About the Author:

Richard Holmes was born in London in 1945 and educated at Downside School and Churchill College, Cambridge.

In 1974 his Shelley: The Pursuit won the Somerset Maugham Award and was described by Stephen Spender as ‘surely the best biography of Shelley ever written’. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was awarded an OBE in 1992 and the Biographers' Club Lifetime Services to Biography Prize in 2014.

He lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain.

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