Percy Bysshe Shelley, Defence of Poetry

Mark Sandy (University of Durham)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Responding to Thomas Love Peacock’s partly satirical essay,

Four Ages of Poetry

, published in Charles Ollier’s


Miscellany (1820), Shelley’s

A Defence of Poetry

argues for poetry’s utilitarian function. Shelley composed his rebuttal of Peacock’s arguments about the redundancy of poetry, in February and March 1821, intending

A Defence of Poetry

to appear in another volume of Ollier’s

Literary Miscellany

. When Shelley learned that there would no further issues of Ollier’s periodical, he started on plans, which remained incomplete at the time of his death, to publish A

Defence of Poetry

as a pamphlet in its own right. In 1822, Mary Shelley endeavoured to have Shelley’s essay posthumously published in

The Liberal

(see separate entry) but, thwarted by the journal’s…

1061 words

Citation: Sandy, Mark. "Defence of Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2004 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

5662 Defence of Poetry 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.