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Shelley and the Apprehension of Life


Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107041226
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About the Authors
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, in the essay 'On Life' (1819), stated 'We live on, and in living we lose the apprehension of life'. Ross Wilson uses this statement as a starting point to explore Shelley's fundamental beliefs about life and the significance of poetry. Drawing on a wide range of Shelley's own writing and on philosophical thinking from Plato to the present, this book offers a timely intervention in the debate about what Romantic poets understood by 'life'. For Shelley, it demonstrates poetry is emphatically 'living melody', which stands in resolute contrast to a world in which life does not live. Wilson argues that Shelley's concern with the opposition between 'living' and 'the apprehension of life' is fundamental to his work and lies at the heart of Romantic-era thought.

    • Offers a timely intervention in the debate about what Romantic poets understood by 'life'
    • Encompasses the whole range of Shelley's work, published and unpublished, to show his view of verse as an enlivening force against life's injustice
    • Places Shelley's poetics in its broad philosophical context, from Plato to the present
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'To read a critic this sensitive to the language of another sensitive language-user is to be made aware of the texture of phrases that otherwise risk being overlooked.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… compelling, beautifully executed and, to use one of Wilson's key terms, profoundly animating …' Stuart Allen, The BARS Review

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    Customer reviews

    20th May 2014 by BarryTraherne

    From the viewpoint of our exploitative century, Shelleys attempts to probe the nature of existence, are marked with urgency and relevance.Ross Wilson submits Shelleys texts to a fascinating analysis, detailed,elegant, and sensitive, which will surely open pathways to future discussion. As with Demogorgons conclusion to Prometheus Unbound, to hope till hope creates/From its own wreck the thing it contemplates - so Ross Wilsons own memorable words: The apprehension of life need not be lost to living on, nor, at best, represent a temporary refuge from it. Through its cultivation, onward life may instead be anticipated neither with fear nor with indifference, but with wonder. Outstanding!

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107041226
    • length: 241 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Poetry and the theory of life
    2. Living losing life
    3. Mere wheels of work
    4. Happier forms
    5. Sounds of air
    6. Poetry and the life of theory

  • Author

    Ross Wilson, University of East Anglia
    Ross Wilson is Lecturer in Literature at the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia.

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