Fall 2017 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for fall 2017 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Imageless Truths
Shelley's Poetic Fictions

Karen A. Weisman

248 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 1994 | ISBN 9780812232226 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512808858 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

"There is really no book on Shelley quite like this one, that focuses so clearly on the evolution of Shelley's fictions. The result is a provocative, original contribution."—Michael Scrivener, Wayne State University
In Imageless Truths, Karen A. Weisman offers a new reading of Shelley's work in the context of the poet's changing constructions of poetic fictions. Shelley's understanding of language in general, and of the fictions and their rhetorical trope in particular, evolved throughout his career, and Weisman argues that it is in his self-consciousness over these transformations that we can find the primary motivating factor in the poet's philosophical and literary development.

Weisman discerns in Shelley an ongoing quest for a mode of fiction-making that can accommodate both the poet's belief in a "metaphysical ultimate" and his anxiety over the implications of grounding poetic fictions too firmly in the details of everyday life. If Shelley's awareness of fictionality is a major element in the poetry, it is an awareness that comes with the troubled sense of the limits of fiction. Weisman contents that it is this persistent, double-edged anxiety that distinguishes Shelley from the other English Romantics. Her point is not intended to deny the validity or the continuing relevance of the deconstructionist perspective, nor the value of its various claims for Shelley; she is simply concerned that the instability of poetic fictions was eventually perceived as a "given" by Shelley, as the beginning premise which he acknowledged and then tried to move beyond.

Imageless Truths will be of interest to students and scholars of English literature.

Karen A. Weisman is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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