First published in 2002. This book surveys how and to what effect Shelley uses erotic narratives to mask political rhetoric within his attempts to describe and bring forth utopia. Posing erotic relationships as both an exemplar of the inequities of power and a paradigm for alternative social orders that dismantle oppressive structures, it argues Shelley’s work imagines a space where the rigidity of tyranny succumbs to the liberation of ecstatic union. From the Romantics to the Aesthetes, it argues that this model contributed to a counter-tradition in British literature which situates the erotic as a trope for political discourse. This work will be of interest to students of literature.
Table of Contents
List of abbreviations; Acknowledgements; Preface; Chapter I Introduction Situating the Erotic: The Places and Spaces of Excess; Part One: The Problem; Chapter II Shelley’s Agenda Writ Large: Reconsidering Œdipus Tyrannus: or, Swellfoot the Tyrant Tyranny Liberty Language Sexual Transgression; Chapter III Tyranny and Liberation, or Rigidity and Ooziness: Physical and Psychological Landscapes in the Cenci and Julian and Maddalo Love, Landscape, and Revolution The Vanishing Points of Patriarchy Private and Public, Family and Society Torture, Retaliation, and Eroticism The Feminine Community Landscape, Psychology, and Unconnectedess Somatic Inscription (Body, Text, Madness) Vanishings; Part Two: The Solution; Chapter IV Revolutionary Landscapes and the Politics of Love: Epipsychidion as Erotic Cartography Love The Other The Female and the Feminine Androgyny Rejection of the Imaginary "…honeyed words betray" Reconfiguration; Chapter V Mapping the Ideal: Pleasure and Displacement in Laon and Cynthia and Prometheus Unbound Pedagogy Eroticism Landscape and Liminality Prometheus as Redeemer Language, Love and Revolution Landscape and Utopia; Chapter VI Conclusion Re-tracing Seduction: The Influence of Shelley on Nineteenth Century British Culture Shelley’s Contemporaries The Pre-Raphaelites The Aesthetes; References; Index