Percy Bysshe Shelley, Defence of Poetry

Mark Sandy (University of Durham)
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Responding to Thomas Love Peacock’s partly satirical essay,

Four Ages of Poetry

, published in Charles Ollier’s

Literary

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 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5662, 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.

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