Poetry and Politics against Language in Shelley
In 1821, Percy Shelley argues that “having enslaved the elements, [Man] remains himself a slave,” and that our cleverness conceals the “Poetry of life.” He asserts that “Poetry” itself can dig humankind out of this mess and imagine free life. Surprisingly, however, he makes no call for more verse. In fact, Shelley does not conceive of “Poetry” as text or credo. Nor does he claim that it can be dormant or dead. I propose that Shelley’s late art detaches “Poetry” from the sterile merry-go-round of mystery and demystification, enchantment and disenchantment.
Allen, Stuart (2013). Poetry and Politics against Language in Shelley. CARS Summer Grants. Item 161.