Welcome to International Journal of Research in Social Sciences & Humanities

E-ISSN : 2249 - 4642 | P-ISSN: 2454 - 4671





Volume: 4 Issue: 2 2014


My dissertation traces the emergence of a new discourse on nonviolence conflict reconciliation during the age of the English Romantic poets. Specifically, this project examines Percy Bysshe Shelley's prose works such as An Address to the Irish People, Proposals for an Association of Philanthropists , and the Notes to Queen Mab. Within these texts Shelley articulates both the philosophy and methodology of nonviolent conflict reconciliation. His theory significantly impacted the formation of the philosophies and the campaigns of the later nonviolence author/activists Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mairead Maguire. Rather than viewing their momentous campaigns as separate, disconnected events, my goal is to establish nonviolence as a discourse that begins with Shelley's Irish writings. Shelley's recommendations for nonviolent resistance are expressed in Thoreau's work as ―civil disobedience,‖ in Gandhi's writings as ―satyagraha,‖ and in the contemporary works of King and Maguire as ―nonviolence reconciliation.‖ In the writings of these activists there is a commonality of language that can be traced back to Shelley. This nonviolence discourse is reflective of and advocates selfless, compassionate love in the same degree for the enemy as for the friend. Strategies of exclusively nonviolent protest and action are utilized to accomplish the goal. The campaigns of these practitioners remain wholly consistent with Shelley's recommendations. Percy Bysshe Shelley 4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. A radical in his poetry as well as his political and social views, Shelley did not achieve fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron; Leigh Hunt; Thomas Love Peacock; and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Shelley is perhaps best known for such classic poems as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud and The Masque of Anarchy. His other major works include long, visionary poems such as Queen Mab (later reworked as The Daemon of the World), Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonaïs, the unfinished work The Triumph of Life; and the visionary verse dramas The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820).His close circle of admirers, however, included some progressive thinkers of the day, including his future father-in-law, the philosopher William Godwin. Though Shelley's poetry and prose output remained steady throughout his life, most publishers and journals declined to publish his work for fear of being arrested themselves for blasphemy or sedition.

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