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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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Introduction: ‘A poem is the very image of life’

Introduction: ‘A poem is the very image of life’

(p.1) Introduction: ‘A poem is the very image of life’
Shelley's Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays

Madeleine Callaghan

Liverpool University Press

A clear distinction between the poet and the man, the art and the life, is misrepresentative in the case of Shelley. Though the boundary between life and art is often a fraught question for poets and their critics, Shelley’s oeuvre is fascinated by and explorative of the ways in which the man’s life can form, to varying degrees in each work, the raw material for the poet’s art. Shelley’s poetic daring lies in troubling the distinction between poetry as aesthetic work hermetically sealed against private feeling and poetry as a record of the emotional life of the poet. The repeated slippage between the emotional and personal life of the poet and his aesthetic and eternal preoccupations is a defining yet never fully definable signature of Shelley’s work.

Keywords:   Life art letters poetry Shelley biography artistry form

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