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Green Romantics: Shelley's "Defense of Poetry"

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MaryKate Wust

on 11 April 2013

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Transcript of Green Romantics: Shelley's "Defense of Poetry"

Summary Purpose of Poetry Poetry & Beauty Group Work Environmental
Implications “Poetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be 'the expression of Imagination’: and poetry is connate with the origin of man” (857).

"[A poem] is universal, and contains within itself the germ of a relation to whatever motives or actions have place in the possible varieties of human nature” (861). "[They] are not only the authors of
language and of music, of the
dance and architecture and
statuary and painting: they are the
institutors of laws, and the
founders of civil society and the
inventors of the arts of life…" (858) A Defence of Poetry "Poetry turns all things to
loveliness; it exalts the beauty
of that which is most beautiful,
and it adds beauty to that which
is most deformed; it marries
exultation and horror, grief and
pleasure, eternity and change; it
subdues to union under its light
yoke all irreconcilable
things" (866). "...we have more scientific and
economical knowledge than can
be accommodated... The poetry in
these systems of though, is
concealed by the accumulation of
facts and calculating processes"
(864). Analyzing Percy Bysshe Shelley's Emily Eufemia | Taylor Holloway-Brown | MaryKate Wust Purpose of Poets Green Romantics | April 11, 2013 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 1. How does Shelley define imagination? How does he define reason? What is the relationship between them?

2. What is the relationship between man and poetry? How does nature fit into this relationship? How do we access poetry?

3. What role does reason play in Leopold's
piece? How does imagination influence it?
Which is more prevalent? 1. What does the language of poets consist
of? How do readers come to understand it? Do we search for author’s intent, or leave the words to our own interpretation?

2. What is the harmony of language? Does it lie in the present between a poet and his fellow verse-writers or does it exist in both the past and present?

3. What is the language between the wolf
and the mountain? Do you agree
with Leopold's speculation on
danger? 1. What is the ethical science that Shelley describes on page 862 surrounding the
elements that poetry creates?

2. Why would poetry be considered immoral by conjuring invented characters for the reader to sympathize with in order to exercise their sympathy toward other sentient beings?

3. How does Shelley’s concept of the morality
of poetry play into Leopold’s newly
recognized immoral act of killing
wolves for sport? Is it an
immoral act? 1. What is the relationship between poetry
and time? How does this contrast the nature
of novels?

2. Shelley invokes a number of poets ranging
from Herodotus to Milton. How does he trace poetry throughout history? How do poets
relate to time as opposed to their poetry?

3. How does the mountain change in
Leopold's Thinking Like a Mountain in
terms of meaning and atmosphere? Shelley's A Defence of Poetry provides a framework of what it means to be a poet, how poetry is connected with society, and how we use and respond to poetic teachings.

Starting with the differences between reason and imagination, Shelley describes how poetry is universal, as well as how this sense of universality applies to different types of people in the natural sense.

He then goes into how multifaceted poets are because of their wisdom. Poets often write on a variety of subjects, giving them knowledge in more than one area of expertise. He also develops the idea that poetry is intended to evoke pleasure.

He ends by saying, "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World" (869). Even though poets are important in society, they unfortunately often go unnoticed.
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