49 pages 1 hour read

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1816

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"Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem" by Percy Shelley (1815)

Published two years before Alastor, Queen Mab is a jubilant mirror argument to the later poem’s moody, emotional feel. Like Alastor, Queen Mab is an extended philosophical meditation of the power of the poet and the poet’s interaction with the imperfect world around him. Nothing here reins in the poet. Queen Mab moves into a dreamy un-real reality, played here for inspiration and grand affirmation. Queen Mab is a giddy fairy-tale like conjuring of a utopian world of sensual immediacy, aesthetic rightness, and perfect harmony; a dazzling world without selfish monarchs or the oppressive wealthy class; a tantalizing, defiant universe created entirely by the energy of the poet’s soul (or imagination) without Alastor’s caveat about the poet moving too far from any anchorage in the imperfect real.

Published two years after Alastor, Mont Blanc is a far more mature work, the work of a poet who has come to understand the thrill and rush of the natural world. Mont Blanc is a quiet meditation that recounts the stunning wonder when the poet first sees the magisterial sweep of Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps.