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Shelley's Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays$
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Madeleine Callaghan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940247

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940247.001.0001

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‘Painted fancy’s unsuspected scope’

‘Painted fancy’s unsuspected scope’

The Esdaile Notebook, Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things, and Queen Mab

(p.13) Chapter One ‘Painted fancy’s unsuspected scope’
Shelley's Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays

Madeleine Callaghan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter readsQueen Mab, Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things and the Esdaile Notebook as representative of the range and ambition of Shelley’s early poetry. Exploring the aesthetic power and pleasure embedded in these poems, this chapter explores Shelley’s poetic as well as his polemical faculty. Focusing on previously neglected works, the early work is shown to be deeply significant in its own right, not only for its later echoes in Shelley’s more mature poetry. Particular attention is paid to Shelley’s letter to Elizabeth Hitchener of 16 October 1811, where the performance of this letter sheds light upon the passionate ambition of Shelley’s early poetry. This chapter stresses Shelley’s burgeoning interest in artistry in his poetry and letters, revealing his early work as increasingly alert to the possibilities and the limits of language.

Keywords:   Esdaile Queen Mab Early Poetical Epic 1812 Ianthe Hitchener

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