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قراءة كتاب Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle

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Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle

Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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THE HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE

 

 

 

LXXVII
SHELLEY, GODWIN
AND THEIR CIRCLE

 

 

 

 

EDITORS OF
THE HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE

Professor Gilbert Murray, O.M., LL.D., F.B.A.
Julian S. Huxley, D.Sc., F.R.S.
Professor G. N. Clark, LL.D., F.B.A.

 

 

 

 

SHELLEY, GODWIN
AND THEIR CIRCLE

 

 

By

H. N. BRAILSFORD

M.A.

 

 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

 

 

 

First published in 1913, and reprinted in 1919, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1936 and 1942

 

 

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

 

 


CONTENTS

CHAPTER   PAGE
I The French Revolution in England 7
II Thomas Paine 56
III William Godwin and the Revolution 78
IV "Political Justice" 94
V Godwin and the Reaction 142
VI Godwin and Shelley 168
VII Mary Wollstonecraft 186
VIII Shelley 212
  Bibliography 252
  Index 255

 

 


SHELLEY, GODWIN, AND
THEIR CIRCLE

CHAPTER I

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND

The history of the French Revolution in England begins with a sermon and ends with a poem. Between that famous discourse by Dr. Richard Price on the love of our country, delivered in the first excitement that followed the fall of the Bastille, and the publication of Shelley's Hellas there stretched a period of thirty-two years. It covered the dawn, the clouding and the unearthly sunset of a hope. It begins with the grave but enthusiastic prose of a divine justly respected by earnest men, who with a limited horizon fulfilled their daily duties in the city. It ends in the rapt vision, the magical music of a singer, who seemed as he sang to soar beyond the range of human ears. The hope passes from the confident expectation of instant change, through the sobrieties of disillusionment and the recantations of despair, to the iridescent dreams of a future which has taken wing and made its home in a fairy world.

In 1789 when Dr. Price preached to his ardent congregation of Nonconformist Radicals in the meeting-house at the Old Jewry, the prospect was definite and the place of the millennium was merely the England over which George III. ruled. The hope was a robust but pedestrian "mental traveller," and its limbs wore the precise garments of political formulæ. It looked for honest Parliaments and manhood suffrage, for the triumph of democracy and the abolition of war. Its scene as Wordsworth put it, was

Not in Utopia, subterraneous fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where,
But in the very world which is the world
Of all of us, the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all.

 

The impetus of its own aspiration carried it swiftly beyond the prosaic demand for Parliamentary Reform. It evolved its programme for the reconstruction of all human institutions, and projected the amendment of human nature itself. America had made an end of kings and France was in the full tide of revolution. Nothing was too mighty for this new-begotten hope, and the path to human perfectibility stretched as plain as the narrow road to Bunyan's Heavenly City.

There followed the phase when persecution from alarmed defenders of things as they are, disgust at the failures of the revolution in France, and contempt for the futilities of the revolution at home, drove the new movement into as many refuges as its votaries had temperaments. For some there was cynicism,

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