New Books

The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Vol. 7, Edited by Nora Crook

This new volume of JHU Press’s landmark Shelley edition contains posthumous poems edited from original manuscripts. “The world will surely one day feel what it has lost,” wrote Mary Shelley after Percy Bysshe Shelley’s premature death in July 1822. Determined to hasten that day, she recovered his unpublished and uncollected poems and sifted through his surviving notebooks and papers. In Genoa during the winter of 1822–23, she painstakingly transcribed poetry “interlined and broken into fragments, so that the sense could only be deciphered and joined by guesses.”

Blasphemy and sedition laws prevented her from including her husband’s most outspoken radical works, but the resulting volume, Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1824), was a magnificent display of Shelley’s versatility and craftsmanship between 1816 and 1822. Few such volumes have made more difference to an author’s reputation.

The seventh volume of the acclaimed Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley extracts from Posthumous Poems those original poems and fragments that Mary Shelley edited. The collection opens with Shelley’s enigmatic dream vision The Triumph of Life, the last major poem he began—and, in the opinion of T. S. Eliot, the finest thing he ever wrote. There follow some of the most famous and beautiful of Shelley’s short lyrics, narrative fragments, two unfinished plays, and other previously unreleased pieces.

Shelley’s Broken World: Fractured Materiality and Intermitted Song by Bysshe Inigo Coffey

Shelley’s Broken World is a provocative and profound reassessment of Shelley’s poetic art and thought.Bysshe Inigo Coffey returns to a peculiarity of Shelley’s expressive repertoire first noticed by his Victorian readers and editors: his innovatory use of pauses, which registered as irregularities in ears untuned to his innovations. But his pauses are more than a quirk; various intermittences are at the centre of Shelley’s artistry and his thought. This book aims to transform the philosophical, scientific, and aesthetic contexts in which Shelley is positioned. It offers a ground-breaking analysis of his reading, and is the first study to refer to and include images of the unpublished ‘Marlow List’, a record of the books Shelley left behind him on his departure for Italy in 1818. 

Shelley’s prosody grew to articulate his sense that actuality is experienced as ruptured and fractured with gaps and limit-points.He shows us the weakness of the actual. As we approach the bicentenary of the poet’s death, Shelley’s Broken World provides an exciting new beginning for the study of a major Romantic poet, the history of materialism, and prosody.