Category Archives: Poetry

Percy Bysshe Shelley


On this date Percy Bysshe Shelley died (1792-1822).

Frye in conversation with David Cayley:

Literature doesn’t argue.  That’s the principle of Shelley’s Defence of Poetry — that literature doesn’t argue.  As Yeats says, “You can refute Hegel but not the Song of Sixpence.”  The whole argumentative side is something that critics, without examining the matter, think must be true of criticism but not of literature.  But to me criticism is really the expression of the awareness of language.  And what I try to do in my writing is express awareness of language, particularly of literary language and what it’s trying to do.  (CW 24, 953-4)

Shelley’s “A Defense of Poetry” here.