Percy Bysshe Shelley: A Philosophical View of Reform (1263 words)

Mark Sandy (University of Durham)
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Composed between November 1819 and 20 May 1820, Shelley's fragmentary A Philosophical View of Reform is a considered and moderate response to recent political events in England. On 16 August 1819 the Peterloo Massacre, in St. Peter's Field near Manchester, saw a peaceful demonstration for parliamentary reform violently charged by local militia. In November 1819 a prejudicial jury found the bookseller Richard Carlile guilty of blasphemy for printing an edition of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (1794-6). By December of that year the British Government had established the “Six Acts”, a series of strict laws designed to restrict public gatherings and freedom of the press. These repressive measures were apparently vindicated o…

Sandy, Mark. "A Philosophical View of Reform". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[, accessed 20 February 2019.]

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