A preface

For this first post I felt that something like a foreword was needed. I definitely found it in the preface to Hellas, a dramatic poem by P. B. Shelley.

This is the age of the war of the oppressed against the oppressors, and every one of those ringleaders of the privileged gangs of murderers and swindlers, called Sovereigns, look to each other for aid against the common enemy, and suspend their mutual jealousies in the presence of a mightier fear. Of this holy alliance all the despots of the earth are virtual members. But a new race has arisen throughout Europe, nursed in the abhorrence of the opinions which are its chains, and she will continue to produce fresh generations to accomplish that destiny which tyrants foresee and dread.

These lines were written in the context of the greek revolution of 1821, as Shelley observed “the apathy of the rulers of the civilized world” towards the insurrection.  I was struck by the fierceness of his words, a burst of rage emerging amid the beautiful bright verses of this great poet.

As we will see in further posts, there are many examples of texts dealing with Revolution and Revolt in Shelley’s works, echoing in contemporary Byron and deeply rooted in the epic of Milton.