A Liberating 'Vacancy': Privative Adjectives in the Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Mikhailiuk, Taras
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Middle Tennessee State University
While scholars of Percy Bysshe Shelley have noted and analyzed the pervasiveness of privative epithets in his works, no one has attempted to examine their use in a number of his major works within the context of his theory of poetry and language. My study examines privative adjectives in "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," "Mont Blanc," Queen Mab, Laon and Cythna, and The Mask of Anarchy. My approach combines an analysis of how Shelley's privatives articulate his political, religious, and moral concerns within individual works with an exploration of how his employment of privative adjectives reflects his larger theoretical views on the integral relationship between poetry and language. Shelley's use of privatives is essential to his formulation of his larger revolutionary and poetic vision and his conceptualization of how the language of his poetry initiates, accompanies, and perpetuates the liberating progress of his revolutionary ideals in the human mind.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poetic Language, Privatives, Reform, Romanticism, Theory of Poetry