Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top 10 books on Percy Bysshe Shelley

A few years ago Julian Roach named a top list of books on Percy Bysshe Shelley for the Guardian.

One title on the list:
The Making of The English Working Class, by EP Thompson

It was the worst of times. In Castlereagh's England, to be poor - and almost everybody was - was to understand one great dismal economic truth: you could work yourself to death and earn enough to be merely hungry, or be thrown out of work and starve directly instead. To protest was treason, earning the lash, the Yeoman's sabre, transportation or the gallows.

Shelley's response was not only an angry call for radical change but also a profound insight into the economic and political machinery of injustice. As Shelley wrote, "a genius does not invent, he perceives." Thompson's eye-line and Shelley's are the same, and this great dissection of England's diseased body politic during, almost exactly, the years of Shelley's life, is the soundest basis available for understanding what made Shelley think like Shelley.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Making of the English Working Class is also one of Billy Bragg's ten favorite books on the subject of Englishness.

--Marshal Zeringue