Shelley’s Scene of Influence

  • G. Kim Blank
Part of the Macmillan Studies in Romanticism book series (SR)


Harold Bloom says that ‘all poets, weak and strong, agree in denying any share in the anxiety of influence’.1 I am surprised Bloom says this; for Bloom is (using his own poetic lexicon) a ‘strong’ and ‘deep’ reader of Shelley. As I hope to show, Shelley acknowledges his anxiety over influence and uses it as a source of poetic strength. In short, this chapter examines the development of Shelley’s idea of poetic influence, noting that Shelley often uses aspects of Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads as a foil in the formulation of his argument.


Assure Metaphor Undercut 


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  1. 1.
    Harold Bloom, A Map of Misreading (Oxford University Press, 1975) p. 10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The most important study of this remains C. E. Pulos, The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley’s Scepticism (Lincoln, Nebr.: University of Nebraska Press, 1954).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Harold Bloom, Poetry and Repression (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1976) p. 5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    André Gide, ‘Concerning Influence in Literature’, in Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality, trans. Blanche A. Price (London, 1959) p. 31.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    For a more detailed but different sort of comparison of the Preface and the Defence see Bruce R. McElderry, ‘Common Elements in Wordsworth’s Preface and Shelley’s Defence of Poetry’, Modern Language Quarterly, v (1944) pp. 175–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© G. Kim Blank 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Kim Blank
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaCanada

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