The Constitution of Shelleys Poetry is a close philosophical reading of Prometheus Unbound from the perspective of the argument or drama of language played out in its pages. At its heart a four-chapter reading of Prometheus Unbound, the book is punctuated with readings of other Shelley works and prefaced with two earlier chapters: one on 'Mont Blanc' and 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty', the companion poems inaugurating Shelleys poetic maturity; the other on 'Ode to the West Wind' originally published with Prometheus Unbound and here represented as 'signature' Shelley. The books one most distinguishing feature, from which several others derive, is its bringing the power and pertinence of Stanley Cavells thought to Shelleys poetry and to his explicitly articulated philosophical interest in language. The book urges and practises close reading, but it provides philosophical grounds for this ostensibly old-fashioned approach, and it implicitly proposes an understanding of language very different from those now most generally assumed in literary studies. The books bringing of Cavells thought to Shelleys poetry would make two related but distinguishable contributions. There is, first of all, the reading of Shelleys poetry, which is new and persuasive both in many of its local moments and in its overall thrust. Second, there is the practical demonstration of the relevance and yield of Cavells thought for literary studies.
Constitution of Shelley's Poetry
The Argument of Language in Prometheus Unbound