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2 September 2014
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Percy Bysshe Shelley - The Revolt of Islam, published 1818

The Revolt of Islam is a symbolic parable on liberation and revolutionary idealism of almost 5,000 lines, written in 1817.

Shelley states that his aim is to kindle in his readers "a virtuous enthusiasm for those doctrines of liberty and justice...which neither violence nor representation nor prejudice can ever totally extinguish among mankind".

The collapse of the French Revolution into terror and tyranny has given rise to "gloom and misanthropy" having "become the characteristics of the age in which we live".

He writes "fearlessly" to counter the taint of "hopelessness" which has infected contemporary literature. He may be targeting the conservative reaction of Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Listen to Shelley's poetry



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