Shelley and the Revolution in Taste

Shelley and the Revolution in Taste : The Body and the Natural World

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This book brings together the themes of diet, consumption, the body, and human relationships with the natural world, in a highly original study of Shelley. A campaigning vegetarian and proto-ecological thinker, Shelley may seem to us curiously modern, but Morton offers an illuminatingly broad context for Shelley's views in eighteenth-century social and political thought concerning the relationships between humanity and nature. The book is at once grounded in the revolutionary history of the period 1790-1820, and informed by current theoretical issues and anthropological and sociological approaches to literature. Morton provides challenging new readings of much-debated poems, plays, and novels by both Percy and Mary Shelley, as well as the first sustained interpretation of Shelley's prose on diet. With its stimulating literary-historical reassessment of questions about nature and culture, this study will provoke fresh discussion about Shelley, Romanticism, and modernity.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: prescriptions; 1. The rights of brutes; 2. The purer nutriment: diet and Shelley's biographies; 3. In the face: the poetics of the natural diet; 4. Apollo in the jungle: healthy morals and the body beautiful; 5. Intemperate figures: refining culture; 6. Sustaining natures: Shelley and ecocriticism; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'... a subtle, thought-provoking and ambitious analysis of the opposed ways of the lives of the rich and the poor, the hungry and the surfeited, as exposed in Shelley's thinking. Nobody interested either in Shelley's poetics or the body's politics will be able to ignore.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Timothy Morton ... is the first critic to take Shelley's vegetarianism seriously ... The results prove to be revolutionary in themselves ... his readings are ... attuned to the complexities of Shelleyan figurality ... this is a book of very real importance.' Shelley Journal 'The book is a kind of belated yet updated 'Renaissance self-fashioning' for Romantic studies. This is an exciting and genuinely original book which offers much to Shelley studies and to the wider current debate about the 'greening' of Romanticism.' Keats Shelley Review 'Morton takes us beyond Shelley (or the Shelleys) and toward the broader cultural and intellectual sphere of Romanticism generally, where we may usefully apply to other authors, other works, the lessons that Morton teaches so compellingly in his fine study.' The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 'Wide-ranging both in its historical research and its ingenious applications of theory, this book ... will be savoured by those who have an interest in the literary figuration of diet and consumption in all periods as well as the Romantic.' Notes and Queries
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About Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is Professor of English at Rice University, Houston.
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