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Shelley'sThe Revolt Of Islam, And The French Revolution

Decent Essays
After the glories of the Revolution had been washed away by the blood bath in France during the terror and consequent events, the artistic stage of Europe came to be dominated by a “spirit of gloom and misanthropy”, a culture of political despondency, an age of catastrophic despair. Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam, according to Cian Duffey, was “an attempt to revise the cultural record surrounding history’s foremost political catastrophe, to relocate the apparent disaster of the revolution within a long-term systematic, natural economy of hope”. Shelley does not just attempt to correct the failed political confidences of his fellow artists like Byron, Wordsworth and Southey but challenges the dominant catastrophist record of the Revolution in the public mind. “Writing the Revolution,” to quote Duffy again, “would therefore also mean righting the revolution: correcting public interpretation of what had happened in France”. By calling the French Revolution the “master theme of the epoch in which we live”, and in turn writing about another failed attempt of a Revolution, Shelley seeks to trace its locus in a Necessitarian/Deterministic notion of the natural history of politics, a history within which the Napoleonic collapse of the Revolution is a natural part of the inevitable, the gradual and long-term process of political change. Dismissed by critics like Bloom and White as “an abortive allegorical epic” which is “thematically incoherent”, The Revolt of Islam has not received
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