Shelley Among Others: The Play of the Intertext and the Idea of Language
JHU Press, 2002 - 406
Ambitious in its scope, Shelley among Others: The Play of the Intertext and the Idea of Language is a comprehensive reading of Shelley's oeuvre through the lens of recent developments in literary and psychoanalytic theory. Stuart Peterfreund not only provides thought-provoking readings of well-known works but also explores less familiar pieces to illuminate their relationship to Shelley's continually evolving conceptions of language, power, and the role of poetry in society.
Peterfreund proposes that there is an intimate connection between Shelley's sophisticated understanding of metaphor and his radical politics, and that this connection animates his entire poetic career, making possible a comprehensive exegesis of his work and development. In masterful close readings, he contextualizes this understanding as a dialogue ("intertext") that Shelley carries on with precursors and contemporaries, both in his theoretical writings (with Vico and Rousseau, for instance) and his poetry (with Wordsworth, Milton, and Shakespeare, among others). The political dimension of Shelley's thought is grounded through often startling connections between his poems and the debates, events, and personalities of the time, and Peterfreund takes care to connect the theory of language which Shelley's work articulates with present-day literary theory, particularly in the writings of Lacan and Kristeva.