Percy Bysshe Shelley, Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude

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In the minds of some critics,


published in 1816, represents Shelley’s first mature poem of length and power (Bloom 8). Praised in contemporary reviews by Leigh Hunt in

The Examiner

in December 1816 and John Gibson Lockhart in

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine

in November 1819, the volume also attracted critical censure from

The Monthly Review


The Eclectic Review

(see Barcus 95-105).

Containing many of the themes, preoccupations, and ambiguities which feature in Shelley’s later poetry,


reveals the multi-faceted quality of Shelley’s poetic vision (see de Man 44). Stuart Curran argues that the poem represents the middle ground between his early and his later work:

Alastor, although ostensibly a poem retreating from a large social vision to contemplate the existential

3714 words

Citation: Callaghan, Madeleine. "Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2012 [, accessed 26 May 2024.]

34177 Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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