chapter  5
36 Pages

The writer and his craft

WithPatricia Hodgart

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s image of himself as an outcast, a solitary like the wandering poet of Alastor, is not entirely a convincing one. Shelley was perfectly capable of turning out Regency album verse quite as charming as the Odes to Anacreon which opened the doors of so many salons to Tom Moore. Shelley’s own place in the commercial world of letters is best assessed by looking at the contacts he made within it and his reaction to some of the writers he knew. Shelley certainly venerated, as did Thomas Keats, the great imaginative flood of Platonic ideas of his ‘Ode on Intimations of Immortality’ whose echoes can be heard in The Triumph of Life in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s vision of the dawn of poetic experience. By far the most, interesting of all Shelley’s friendships was that with Lord Byron, the most celebrated poet of the day. Shelley’s travels and life abroad opened his eyes to new aspects of Nature.