Shelley’s Poetics of Reticence: Shelley’s Shame

1st Edition

Merrilees Roberts

May 15, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 280 Pages
ISBN 9780367256432 - CAT# 307661
Series: Routledge Studies in Romanticism


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Exploring the rhetorical and phenomenological links between shame and reticence, this book examines the psychology of Shelley’s anguished poet-Subject. Shelley’s struggles with the fragility of the ‘self’ have largely been seen as the result of thinking which connects emotional hyperstimulation to moral and political undermining of the individual ‘will’. This work takes a different approach, suggesting that Shelley’s insecurities stemmed from anxieties about the nature of aesthetic self-representation. Shame is an appropriate affective marker of such anxiety because it occurs at the cusp between internal and external self-evaluation. Shelley’s reticent poetics transfers an affective sense of shame to the reader and provokes interpretive responsibility. Paying attention to the affective contours of texts, this book presents new readings of Shelley’s major works. These interpretations show that awakening the reader’s ethical discretion creates a constructive dynamic which challenges influential deconstructive readings of the unfinished nature of Shelley’s work and thought.

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