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Shelley's Goddess: Maternity, Language, Subjectivity
     

Shelley's Goddess: Maternity, Language, Subjectivity

by Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi
 

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The subject of Gelpi's new book is the importance of the mother-infant relationship in Percy Bysshe Shelly's poetry and life. However, her book also uses Shelley as a touchstone by which to examine the rich historical and theoretical issues relevant to motherhood in the Romantic period. Gelpi offers a detailed account of the historical rise in attention paid to

Overview

The subject of Gelpi's new book is the importance of the mother-infant relationship in Percy Bysshe Shelly's poetry and life. However, her book also uses Shelley as a touchstone by which to examine the rich historical and theoretical issues relevant to motherhood in the Romantic period. Gelpi offers a detailed account of the historical rise in attention paid to mothering, the changing cultural attitudes towards the role of the mother, and the resulting effect on the nature of family life. She further discusses the psychoanalytic, Marxist, and developmental approaches to the mother/infant relationship, particularly to the connection each makes between that relationship and the acquisition of language. By combining psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and feminist theory with extensive biographical material on Shelley and information on the position of mothers in England after 1790, Gelpi offers an important reassessment of Shelley's avowed feminism and the failure of his utopian vision.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Engaging....Her study can be highly original, and even at points enthralling....There is an unmistakable sense of daring, of risk, of passionate engagement in her writing which is impressive, and even moving."—The New York Review of Books

"A fine coalescence of feminist criticism and interesting, sometimes brilliant, readings."—Edward Dramin, Iona College

"Shelley's Goddess fearlessly contemporary in its demands on Shelley. Gelpi has produced what is today quite rare in mainline criticism, a work that attempts freshly to rethink an array of issues concerning Shelley from a contemporary intellectual's standpoint....From its just and accurate learning in eighteenth-century resources to its acute scrutiny of modern psychoanalytic constraints on the feminine, this study deserves accolades for range, originality, and insight."—Stuart Curran, University of Pennsylvania

"Shelley's Goddess is an important feminist revision of a major canonical figure, of the cultural tradition that has inscribed literary criticism, and of that literary criticism itself. Gelpi's linkage of psychoanalytical, biographical, sociological, and historical approaches is thoughtful and timely. It both continues a tradition of feminist thought and breaks new ground. Her connection of the ideologies of the maternal and the aesthetic indeed has consequences for every possible area of human activity."—Laurie Langbauer, Swarthmore College

"Barbara Gelpi's Shelley's Goddess is an extremely sophisticated analysis of the ideology of maternity as it developed both in the cultural discourse of eighteenth-century England and in modern psychoanalytic theory....Gelpi provides a fascinating and compelling account of the development of the eroticization of the mother...in eighteenth-century British society and in the Shelley household in particular."—Anne Mellor, University of California, Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195360820
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/29/1992
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Stanford University

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