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Sheridan, Claire (2013)
Publisher: Questia
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: PQ
This article draws on recent criticism of Romantic biography, as well as scholarly attention to Romantic sociability and Romantic afterlives, to revise our understanding of how Percy Shelley’s literary reputation was shaped and preserved by his friends immediately after his death. \ud \ud Julian North's 2009 book on biography in the Romantic period, The Domestication of Genius, makes a crucial reassessment of the role of biography in our understanding of the Romantic poets. In her discussion of Mary Shelley, North is especially attentive to her affinity, developed in the Lives of Eminent Men she wrote for Dionysius Lardner, with the radical implications of biography as exemplified in Lives by William Godwin and Mary Hays. Nevertheless, North’s chapter on Mary Shelley also elides that author’s complex relationship with solitude. This elision is a consequence of North's argument that Mary Shelley's biographical persona is a sociable and feminine one, in contradistinction to P. B. Shelley as unsociable, masculine subject. Where North characterizes Mary Shelley as being sociable in her role of posthumous, eyewitness biographer, I am struck by her paradoxical claims for solitude, of having outlived the sociability of coterie, of being last.
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