Imageless Truths

Imageless Truths

Shelley's Poetic Fictions

Anniversary Collection

by Karen A. Weisman

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

248 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9780812232226
  • Published: March 1994



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.