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Shelley's Poetry and Prose (Norton Critical Edition) 2nd Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393977523
ISBN-10: 0393977528
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neil Fraistat is Professor of English at the University of Maryland and a founder and General Editor of the Romantic Circles website. He is co-editor of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, of Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print, and of Helen Maria Williams' Letters Written in France. He is recipient of the Society for Textual Scholarship's Fredson Bowers Memorial Prize and the Keats-Shelley Association's Distinguished Scholar Award.

Donald H. Reiman, Adjunct Professor of English at the University of Delaware, is co-editor of Shelley and His Circle at the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library. He is a director and officer of the Keats-Shelley Association of America, founder of the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association, a founding director of the Society for Textual Scholarship and the Byron Society of America, and a founder of the Romantic Circles website. He has written, edited, or co-edited some 200 volumes of literary and textual criticism.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2 edition (January 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393977528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393977523
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you only buy one book of Shelley's works -- make it this one.
This edition contains all Shelley's major poetry, as well as three essays (see table of contents on this page).
The bonus is that, as this is a critical edition, it also contains 15 brief critical essays, which are among the best explications you'll find of Shelley's work. (Since it's a critical edition, the poems are also heavily footnoted, something you'll either love or hate.)
The only downside is that a number of Shelley's shorter and lighter poems are absent (e.g., "Love's Philosophy"), and only a small portion of "Laon and Cyntha" appears here -- but overall the selection is solid. And, like all the Norton critical editions, this is printed on decent paper, eye-straining, tissue-thin stock found in some other volumes.
Perfect for those new to Shelley as well as long-time devotees.
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By A Customer on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Shelley is the wild child of English poetry and his determined opposition to tyranny produced a huge variety of poetry, ranging from the rending lament of Keats in Adonais, to the defiant and taut sonnet Ozymandias. His single greatest work, however, is Prometheus Unbound, which a vast gothic ruin of neat poetry. One shot of it and you'll wonder why a) all the nice, obvious prosy bits seem to have been left out and b) why exactly you love it, and him, so much. Like a cross between a vision of God and a lobotomy.
It's strange, but he means it and the grand sweep of the poem and its rebirth of humanity (I did say this isn't kitchen sink drama) is as distinctive an experience as reading Milton for the first time or the first time you read a love letter in the bath. Holding an electric fire.
There are many other poems which should be headline news, such as Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Mont Blanc, Mutability and Ode to the West Wind, but this edition also has the advantage of including the Defence of Poetry which is the most rhapsodic and emotive arguments you'll ever have the pleasure to be swept away by. For a second you want to believe the beautiful nonsense that 'poets are the unackowledged legislators of the world'. Shelley pulls no punches in prose because he hasn't pulled any in poetry. He believes in the prophetic importance of his role and is electric enough to almost make us belive him.
This is the best student edition of Shelley's works in print. Not according to me, but to a Professor in Romantic Poetry at Oxford University. Not a bad recommendation!
The essays in this volume are generally helpful and explain the structures of the poems where useful. They are also refreshingly short.
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Format: Paperback
This text is a great one, as are all of the Norton anthologies that I have bought over the years. The works it contains are as follows:

Poetry:

"Queen Mab"

"Alastor"

"Stanzas -- April, 1814"

"Mutability"

"To Wordsworth"

"Hymn to Intellectual Beauty"

"Mont Blanc"

Excerpts from "Laon and Cynthia"

"To Constantia"

"Ozymandias"

"Lines written among the Euganean Hills"

"Julian and Maddalo"

"Stanza written in Dejection"

"The Two Spirits -- an Allegory"

"The Cenci"

"Prometheus Unbound"

"The Sensitive-Plant"

"Ode to Heaven"

"Ode to the West Wind"

"The Cloud"

"To a Sky-Lark"

"Ode to Liberty"

"The Mask of Anarchy"

"England in 1819"

"Sonnet: To the Republic of Benevento"

"Sonnet ('Lift not the painted veil')"

"Sonnet ('Ye hasten to the grave!')"

"Letter to Maria Gisborne"

"Peter Bell the Third"

"The Witch of Atlas"

"Song of Apollo"

"Song of Pan"

"Epipsychidion"

"Adonais"

"Hellas"

"Written on Hearing the News of the Death of Napoleon"

"The Indian Girl's Song"

"Song ('Rarely, rarely comest thou')"

"The Flower that Smiles Today"

"Memory"

"To ------ ('Music, when soft voices die')"

"When Passion's Trance Is Overpast"

"To Jane. The Invitation"

"To Jane. The Recollection"

"One Word Is Too Often Profaned"

"The Serpent Is Shut Out from Paradise Lost"

"With a Guitar. To Jane.
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Format: Paperback
Percy Bysshe Shelley is undoubtedly one of the double handful of master poets of the English language. He's something more to many of us, a figure of great charisma and daring who spent his life in relentless search of a better way to be than what we're perpetually settling for, politically, erotically, personally. This quest took him into several flavors of exile, and into darker places within; early on he abandoned belief and near the end, some say, abandoned hope. But he wrote what it was like all the way through, and what it should be like, and why writing what it should be like is crucial. He searched always for the road forward, refusing the easy lie of naming the ground beneath his feet that road. Not that he was what we would call an existentialist: his vision of what might prove possible in life marries all the little-but-infinite scenes of love, discovery, and sublimity he'd experienced and never forgotten, and was always at work recasting in stronger and surer words and images.

His most important writings are mid-length and longer pieces. This is something of a paradox as all agree he is anyone's equal as a lyric poet. I recommend his crazy, brilliant early poem "Alastor" as a beginning point. It sketches out the quest he never left off from and gives a heavy, tonic dose of poetry as he conceived it: a stripping off of fear, remorse and all other artificial limits, including those of our very senses, and a dive into the furious streaming colliding fires of the true world to find what's lost there. It's a bit like the visionary journey the astronaut takes near the end of the film 2001. Without the fetus.

This is a great selection, omitting little of importance. The first edition carried all the same poems, but a mostly different set of critical essays.
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