The Simile of the Avalanche in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound

The Simile of the Avalanche in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound

by Anonymous

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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, Brandeis University, course: Romanticism, 6 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Percy Bysshe Shelley was not the naïve dreamer as who he is often described. He did not cherish views of society that rested solely on the power of imagination. As Kenneth Neill Cameron has pointed out, his remarks on society were founded on an analysis of contemporary political conditions. This was not unusual. Shelley's approach to politics follows a general tendency of his time. Shelley's time is interesting in regard to how people looked at society. They no longer trusted in philosophical constructions but began to look at 'the facts,' that is, they began to look at society as the effect of the forces and causes that preceded it. Jeremy Bentham, with whom Shelley shared many political views, can be regarded as the first political thinker (the philosophers had paved the way) in England who tried to build his social theories on empiricism; Bentham wrote his landmark essay onEvidencein 1806. Those who came after Bentham were critical of him. John Stuart Mill, in his autobiography, said that he embodied the 'empiricism of one who has had little experience.' But nevertheless, he was indebted to him. From Bentham on, a new way of thinking about society was on the rise in England. It was carried on and developed through the decades by people like Mill and Beatrice Webb and later on received the name of 'sociology'. Shelley, it seems to me, was connected with his own time in that he witnessed the developments in social and political thinking. Not only this: In his poetry, the arrival of empiricism in social theory can be traced. In fact, his poetry bears witness to the hour when social theory made the first efforts to become a part of science. This arrival has never been unproblematic because it conflicted with metaphysical assumptions. This conflict is present in Shelley as well. In the context I have outlined, I want to look at Shelley's famous simile of the avalanche inPrometheus Unbound,written in 1818/19. I read the avalanche as an image that represents phenomena in different fields at the same time: the theory of knowledge, the theory of the mind, and the theory of society. More concretely, it stands for propositions about how knowledge is augmented, about how the mind works, about how the dynamic of avalanches functions and about how revolutions come into being and how they work. [...]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783638543774
Publisher: GRIN Publishing
Publication date: 01/01/2006
Sold by: CIANDO
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 13
File size: 67 KB

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