The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 3

Neil Fraistat, Co-Editor
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012

"His name is Percy Bysshe Shelley, and he is the author of a poetical work entitled Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude." With these words, the radical journalist and poet Leigh Hunt announced his discovery in 1816 of an extraordinary talent within "a new school of poetry rising of late."

The third volume of the acclaimed edition of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley includes Alastor, one of Shelley’s first major works, and all the poems that Shelley completed, for either private circulation or publication, during the turbulent years from 1814 to March 1818: Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Mont Blanc, Laon and Cythna, as well as shorter pieces, such as his most famous sonnet, Ozymandias. It was during these years that Shelley, already an accomplished and practiced poet with three volumes of published verse, authored two major volumes, earned international recognition, and became part of the circle that was later called the Younger Romantics.

As with previous volumes, extensive discussions of the poems’ composition, influences, publication, circulation, reception, and critical history accompany detailed records of textual variants for each work. Among the appendixes are Mary W. Shelley’s 1839 notes on the poems for these years, a table of the forty-two revisions made to Laon and Cythna for its reissue as The Revolt of Islam, and Shelley’s errata list for the same.

It is in the works included in this volume that the recognizable and characteristic voice of Shelley emerges—unmistakable, consistent, and vital.