on March 13, 2001
Frankly, I'm more impressed with Bertrand Russell's _Why I am not a Christian_ than with this book...Shelley's writing is couched in such period rhetoric (early 19th century / late 18th century style) as to be rather clumsy and turgid for the modern reader, and the assumtions and argumentation rely on premises that are often faulty or no longer seem valid in the contemporary world.
All that having been said, the short essay "On Life" was most impressive indeed and in many ways seems a foreshadowing of Postmodernism. Very startling to see that Urquelle in a text like this.
This book looks great on a bookshelf, but is a little dissapointing in the actual reading of it, save for "On Life". The title essay is especially disappointing. Oh well...
on August 29, 2003
This volume was used as a primary source in writing a paper on Shelley's theistic philosophy, and it proved to be an invaluable resource to this end. It is one thing to attempt to extract Shelley's underlying beliefs from his poetry alone, but something altogether different to read his own thoughts on them firsthand. Among the Romantics, Shelley is famous for waxing philosophical at times, and this volume represents some of Shelley's best philosophical, non-fiction formal prose. This is a great primary source for anyone interested in probing further into Shelley's worldview.