Percy Bysshe Shelley: Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude (3714 words)


In the minds of some critics, Alastor, 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 and The Eclectic Review (see Barcus 95-105). Containing many of the themes, preoccupations, and ambiguities which feature in Shelley’s later poetry, Alastor 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:

Citation: Callaghan, Madeleine. "Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2012 [, accessed 22 June 2021.]

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