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Commemorating PeterlooViolence, Resilience, and Claim-making during the Romantic Era$
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Michael Demson and Regina Hewitt

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474428569

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474428569.001.0001

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Shelley’s Poetry and Suffering

Shelley’s Poetry and Suffering

(p.271) Chapter 12 Shelley’s Poetry and Suffering
Commemorating Peterloo

Michael Scrivener

Edinburgh University Press

After Peterloo in 1819-20, P. B. Shelley was thinking through poetry-by metaphors, myths, associations, and symbolic connections-for alternatives to authoritarian politics; he explored how the mind functioned in political conflict and imagined how society might function nonviolently within a just order. His poetic thinking relied on figures of the feminine and the maternal for alternative resolutions: feminine-centred and maternal myths avoided the injustice of patriarchal structures. The poetic process, which he describes as 'inspired', and 'not subject to the control of the active powers of the mind', drew upon Oedipal energies and other unconscious conflicts. He fully developed this project in Prometheus Unbound and The Mask of Anarchy.

Keywords:   Peterloo, Prometheus Unbound, The Mask of Anarchy, Shelley, Percy Bysshe, feminism, nonviolence, psychoanalysis, unconscious, maternal, inspiration

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