The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume I (1914) compiles some of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s best-known works as a leading poet, playwright, and political thinker of the nineteenth century. As a leading figure among the English Romantics, Shelley was a master of poetic form and tradition who recognized the need for radical change in the social order.
His work has influenced such writers and intellectuals as Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi, W. B. Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. In Prometheus Unbound, a lyrical drama, Shelley explores the story of Prometheus, a figure from Greek mythology who stole the power of fire in defiance of the gods. Giving fire to the human race, he sacrifices himself to an eternity of torture.
For Shelley, Prometheus represented the power of revolutionary action, important to the poet as a follower of radical anarchist William Godwin. The Masque of Anarchy is a political poem written in response to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, when a British cavalry unit attacked a group of protestors in Manchester, injuring hundreds and killing eighteen. Adonais is an elegy commemorating the life of Romantic poet John Keats, whose death from tuberculosis at the age of 25 inspired Shelley to compose one of his finest literary works.
A pastoral elegy in the tradition of John Milton’s Lycidas, the poem declares “‘With me / Died Adonais; till the Future dares / Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be / An echo and a light unto eternity!’” Immortalizing Keats, Shelley chillingly foreshadows his own tragic death, which ended his promising career only a year later. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume I is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.