‘—and so this tree— / O that such our death may be—’: Shelley’s Last Treescapes

Journal article


Davis, A. 2024. ‘—and so this tree— / O that such our death may be—’: Shelley’s Last Treescapes. Romanticism. 30 (1), pp. 56-67. https://doi.org/10.3366/rom.2024.0628
AuthorsDavis, A.
Abstract

Trees shift between visual, literal, and rhetorical figures in Shelley’s poetry, where distinctive tree species accentuate particular qualities of verse. Attentive to the final year of Shelley’s life, this essay explores the treescapes of the poet’s ultimate work, ‘The Triumph of Life’, and the pine’s suspension of time in Shelley’s last lyrics to Jane Williams: ‘To Jane. The Invitation’, ‘To Jane—The Recollection’, and ‘With a Guitar. To Jane’. The pines that populate the Jane Poems are complicit in the arrestation of the lyrical moment, embalming poetic speaker and subject in deathly amber. In ‘The Triumph of Life’, broadleaved species – the chestnut and the poplar – regenerate the fallen leaves of the ‘Ode to the West Wind’ by sowing the seeds of posterity. Rooted in a tradition of arboreal poetics from the classical world to the contemporary, Shelley’s trees construct an allusive network of intertextual echoes.

KeywordsPercy Bysshe Shelley; Romantic poetry; lyric; trees; leaves; death
Year2024
JournalRomanticism
Journal citation30 (1), pp. 56-67
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISSN1750-0192
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3366/rom.2024.0628
Web address (URL)https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/10.3366/rom.2024.0628
Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineMar 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Jan 2024
Deposited08 Apr 2024
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Accepted author manuscript
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License: CC BY 4.0
File access level: Open

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