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Shelley's Goddess : Maternity, Language, Subjectivity - Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi

Shelley's Goddess

Maternity, Language, Subjectivity

Paperback Published: 29th October 1992
ISBN: 9780195073843
Number Of Pages: 336

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The subject of Gelpi's new book is the importance of the mother-infant relationship in Percy Bysshe Shelly's poetry and life. However, her book also uses Shelley as a touchstone by which to examine the rich historical and theoretical issues relevant to motherhood in the Romantic period. Gelpi offers a detailed account of the historical rise in attention paid to mothering, the changing cultural attitudes towards the role of the mother, and the resulting effect on the nature of family life. She further discusses the psychoanalytic, Marxist, and developmental approaches to the mother/infant relationship, particularly to the connection each makes between that relationship and the acquisition of language. By combining psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and feminist theory with extensive biographical material on Shelley and information on the position of mothers in England after 1790, Gelpi offers an important reassessment of Shelley's avowed feminism and the failure of his utopian vision.

Industry Reviews

"Engaging....Her study can be highly original, and even at points enthralling....There is an unmistakable sense of daring, of risk, of passionate engagement in her writing which is impressive, and even moving."--The New York Review of Books "A fine coalescence of feminist criticism and interesting, sometimes brilliant, readings."--Edward Dramin, Iona College "Shelley's Goddess fearlessly contemporary in its demands on Shelley. Gelpi has produced what is today quite rare in mainline criticism, a work that attempts freshly to rethink an array of issues concerning Shelley from a contemporary intellectual's standpoint....From its just and accurate learning in eighteenth-century resources to its acute scrutiny of modern psychoanalytic constraints on the feminine, this study deserves accolades for range, originality, and insight."--Stuart Curran, University of Pennsylvania "Shelley's Goddess is an important feminist revision of a major canonical figure, of the cultural tradition that has inscribed literary criticism, and of that literary criticism itself. Gelpi's linkage of psychoanalytical, biographical, sociological, and historical approaches is thoughtful and timely. It both continues a tradition of feminist thought and breaks new ground. Her connection of the ideologies of the maternal and the aesthetic indeed has consequences for every possible area of human activity."--Laurie Langbauer, Swarthmore College "Barbara Gelpi's Shelley's Goddess is an extremely sophisticated analysis of the ideology of maternity as it developed both in the cultural discourse of eighteenth-century England and in modern psychoanalytic theory....Gelpi provides a fascinating and compelling account of the development of the eroticization of the mother...in eighteenth-century British society and in the Shelley household in particular."--Anne Mellor, University of California, Los Angeles "Engaging....Her study can be highly original, and even at points enthralling....There is an unmistakable sense of daring, of risk, of passionate engagement in her writing which is impressive, and even moving."--The New York Review of Books "A fine coalescence of feminist criticism and interesting, sometimes brilliant, readings."--Edward Dramin, Iona College "Shelley's Goddess fearlessly contemporary in its demands on Shelley. Gelpi has produced what is today quite rare in mainline criticism, a work that attempts freshly to rethink an array of issues concerning Shelley from a contemporary intellectual's standpoint....From its just and accurate learning in eighteenth-century resources to its acute scrutiny of modern psychoanalytic constraints on the feminine, this study deserves accolades for range, originality, and insight."--Stuart Curran, University of Pennsylvania "Shelley's Goddess is an important feminist revision of a major canonical figure, of the cultural tradition that has inscribed literary criticism, and of that literary criticism itself. Gelpi's linkage of psychoanalytical, biographical, sociological, and historical approaches is thoughtful and timely. It both continues a tradition of feminist thought and breaks new ground. Her connection of the ideologies of the maternal and the aesthetic indeed has consequences for every possible area of human activity."--Laurie Langbauer, Swarthmore College "Barbara Gelpi's Shelley's Goddess is an extremely sophisticated analysis of the ideology of maternity as it developed both in the cultural discourse of eighteenth-century England and in modern psychoanalytic theory....Gelpi provides a fascinating and compelling account of the development of the eroticization of the mother...in eighteenth-century British society and in the Shelley household in particular."--Anne Mellor, University of California, Los Angeles "Shelley's Goddess is an important, powerful, even revolutionary study of the poet and his response to the ideologies of motherhood in the early nineteenth century. It combines biography, close reading, source study, extensive historical research in primary documents, a sensitive use of psychoanalysis, and a rich, well-grounded feminist understanding--all to good effect. No one interested in Shelley, English Romanticism, or the gender-politics of that post-revolutionary time can afford to ignore this major book. It is by far the most important feminist reading of Shelley that we have."--Jerrold E. Hogle, University of Arizona "Gelpi's achievements are considerable and impressive....She significantly advances feminist criticism of Shelley....Shelley's Goddess is...a learned, important, and stimulating contribution to Shelley studies. It also provides a commanding model for any critic interested in rethinking romanticism historically."--South Atlantic Review "Provocative, eccentric, and aggressively argued....A fine resource for future inquiry."--Keats-Shelley Journal "She brilliantly interprets and evaluates Shelley's poetic drama Prometheus Unbound. She presents this study, as impressive in scholarship as in speculative risks, to aid that enterprise."--Southern Humanities Review "No reading of Shelley's text with which I am familiar has better succeeded in penetrating a highly vulnerable masculine subjectivity impaled upon its own fear of dissolution."--Studies in Romanticism

Abbreviationsp. xix
The Nurse's Soul
Infancy Narrativesp. 3
The Lacanian-Kristevan Narrativep. 5
The Interpersonal Narrativep. 17
Notesp. 31
Her Destined Spherep. 35
Maternity Eroticizedp. 43
The Mother-Educatorp. 60
The Mother God(dess)p. 72
Notesp. 80
Queen of the Field Place Hivep. 83
Strategies of Infant Desirep. 87
A Mother-Son Alliancep. 105
Comus at Field Placep. 120
Notesp. 130
Re-Membering the Mother
Seeing Through Mirrors (Prometheus Unbound, Act I)p. 137
Notesp. 168
The Source of Desire Seeks the End of Desire (Prometheus Unbound, Act II)p. 170
The Gaze of Soul-Making (Scene i)p. 170
The Caverns of Thought (Scenes i and ii)p. 188
Ritual Descent (Scenes iii and iv)p. 204
Prometheus/Adonis and the Mother Goddess (Scene v)p. 222
Notesp. 229
"Where the Split Began" (Prometheus Unbound, Act III)p. 236
The Rape of Thetis (Scene i)p. 237
Utopian Paradigms (Scene ii)p. 243
Mother and Son (Scene iii)p. 245
The Dipsas of Desire (Scene iv)p. 260
Notesp. 265
Conclusionp. 267
Works Citedp. 274
Indexp. 288
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195073843
ISBN-10: 0195073843
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 29th October 1992
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.29 x 15.57  x 1.63
Weight (kg): 0.47

Earn 144 Qantas Points
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