DOI link for Prometheus Unbound
Prometheus Unbound book
In the summer of 1790, thousands of French men and women swore oaths to the principles of the revolution in various ceremonies across the country. Four years later, following the Jacobin revolution, a very different ceremony took place at the Champs de Mars, a 'Festival of Supreme Being'. The new religion was the 'cult of sensibility' and the new intellectual deity was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the man revered by Mary Wollstonecraft as 'the Prometheus of Sentiment'. Away in the Alps, discussing metaphysics and free sex with Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley expressed his outrage in The Mask of Anarchy. When he drowned in the Gulf of Spezia, Shelley had been trying to conclude the rather poignantly entitled poem, The Triumph of Life. The essential theme of the Triumph, the endless challenge of unmasking the 'countenance' of humanity, had been set in his last epic, Prometheus Unbound, a poem which he hoped would represent 'a great work, embodying the discoveries of all ages'.