In November 2015, the only surviving copy of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things (1811) became the Bodleian Libraries’ 12 millionth book and was published for the first time in over 200 years. It was known to have been published in 1811 but it had been feared lost for ever until this copy was discovered in a private collection in 2006.
Poetical Essay is a 172 line revolutionary poem, written as a response to Britain's involvement in the Napoleonic war, and the themes - the abuse of press, dysfunctional political institutions and the global impact of war - remain relevant today.
In his talk entitled 'Romantic Poetry and 'the Existing State of Things', Professor Rossington will reflect on the engagement of the poetry of the Romantic period (including that of Wordsworth and Southey) with social and political crises of various kinds prompted by ‘the Existing State of Things’.
In collaboration with the Wordsworth Trust