Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetic Radicalism

14. July 2022 18:00

Prof. Rüdiger Görner, PhD, MA, BA

Through the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley speaks what might be provocatively termed ‘poetic fundamentalism’. What is the qualifier for this judgement? It can be found in the very fact that his poetry addresses the fundamentals of art in language. Furthermore, it attempted a hitherto unheard-of radicalization of poetic speech in the English language. Shelley’s poetry offers a new foundation for poetry in English, if not a profoundly disturbing foundation myth of the modern poet. Amongst his fellow Romantics, Shelley comes across as a rebel and dissenter, dissatisfied with schematic explanations of phenomena and commonplace stereotypes of expression. Shelley’s intellectual restlessness became the irregular heartbeat for a revolutionized conception of poetry. It amounted to a poetic revolution with unmistakable political over- and undertones. The bi-centenary of Shelley’s death provides the occasion for this lecture that will discuss the implications of Shelley’s approach to writing as such.

Rüdiger Görner is Centenary Professor of German at Queen Mary University of London and Founding Director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations. He is the author of some forty academic and literary books. His most recent monograph was published by Reclam: Romantik – Ein europäisches Ereignis (2021). In the same year he published the novel The Marble Song with PalmArtPress (Berlin/New York). He is the recipient of numerous awards, incl. the Reimar Lüst Prize of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation.

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