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Ode to the West Wind and Other Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 1 Dec 1993
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Shelly's poetry is a breath of fresh country air in our 21st Century science and technology based society.
I have read this Dover edition several times in the last several years as well as two other short selections of Shelley's poetry. Despite my growing familiarity with his poems, I still find Shelley to be decidedly more challenging than Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, or Byron.
This increased difficulty is especially evident in Shelley's longer poems. Like me, many readers are likely to become initially disoriented and confused by Shelley's layered and embedded metaphors. Fortunately, with a bit of persistence, careful attention, and multiple readings, most readers will become proficient in unraveling, and appreciating, Shelley's intricate patterns of connected imagery.
This Dover edition includes six of these longer, more challenging poems (even the titles are lengthy): Lines Written among the Euganean Hills (1818), Julian and Maddalo: A Conversation (1818), The Mask of Anarchy - Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester (1819), Letter to Maria Gisborne (1820), Epipsychidion (1821) - Verses Addressed to the Noble and Unfortunate Lady, Emilia Viviani Imprisoned in the Convent of -----, and Adonais - An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc.
The remaining thirty-one poems range from a dozen lines to a couple pages. I suggest that the reader new to Shelley focus on shorter poems, reserving the longer excursions for later. The four poems Ozymandias, The Cloud, Ode to the West Wind, and To Night make a good starting point.
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind."
"My name is Oxymandias ,king of kings
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains.Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
This excellent collection contains many of the most well- known of Shelley's poems, including 'Ode to the West Wind' 'Oxymandias' ' The Cloud' 'Adonais' ' To a Skylark" "Written in Dejection, Near Naples" "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" "Sonnet" England in 1819"
It contains some of the intensely musical and visionary verse of one of the most wild and revolutionary English Romantics. Shelley never gripped my mind and heart as Wordworth has , but the undeniable beauty of some of his powerful lines sings in my mind ( and I believe will sing in the mind of most readers) to this day.
"O Wild West Wind ,thou Breath of Autumn's Being
Thou, from unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeting "