Books: Poet of Revolution

SHELLEY — Newman Ivey White —Knopf (2 vols., $12.50).

Forced to think about Percy Bysshe Shelley, most people visualize something with wild hair, wild eyes, a decollete shirt, poised to intone: "Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!" Responsible for this conception is Shelley's official biographer, Professor Edward Dowden, and a whole school of Victorian apologists. They have busily sold Shelley as an inspired listener to skylarks, with an unfortunate but irrelevant "interest in social revolution. Critic-Poet Francis Thompson advised would-be Shelleyans to "peep over the wild mass of revolutionary...

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