Shelley's drafts and notebooks, which have recently been published for the first time, are very revealing about the creative processes behind his poems, and show - through illustrations and doodles - an unexpectedly vivid visual imagination which contributed greatly to the effect of his poetry. Shelley's Visual Imagination analyzes both verbal script and visual sketches in his manuscripts to interpret the lively personifications of concepts such as 'Liberty', 'Anarchy', or 'Life' in his completed poems. Challenging the persistent assumption that Shelley's poetry in particular, and Romantic poetry more generally, reject the visual for expressive voice or music, this first full-length study of the drafts and notebooks combines criticism with a focus upon bibliographic codes and iconic pages. The product of years of close examination of these remarkable texts, this much-anticipated book will be of great value for all students of Shelley and all those interested in the Romantic process of creation.
Nancy Goslee is Professor of English Emerita at the University of Tennessee.
1. Introduction: text and figure; 2. Mab's metamorphoses; 3. 'Hymn to intellectual beauty': visual texts, invisible figure; 4. 'Clear elemental shapes': textual and cultural origins for liberty in the Laon and Cythna notebooks; 5. Anarchy's textual progress: representing liberty; 6. Pursuing revision in Shelley's 'Ode to Liberty'; 7. Dispersoning Emily: drafting as plot in Epipsychidion; 8. 'Compelling/All new successions': death and the poet's figurations in Adonais; 9. The Triumph of Life: figure, history, and inscription.