Socialist Worker

Poet's revolt

by Jane Carruthers
Issue No. 1808

THE POET Shelley has inspired hundreds of books throughout the 180 or so years since he died. But Paul O'Brien's new book, Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland, finds a lot of new and very interesting things to say about Shelley and his fight against oppression. The book is about Shelley's two visits to Ireland in 1812.

His relationship with Ireland, which he rightly saw as the heart of British tyranny, has never been explored so thoroughly before. The book brings to life the struggle against the British Empire, and shows how it was also a struggle against the whole British establishment.

It brings to the fore the impact of the French Revolution on British society, and of Shelley's influence on Irish writers like W B Yeats, who claimed that 'Shelley shaped my life'.

Most importantly it smashes the idea that Shelley was a useless dreamer, pondering skylarks and not acting to try and stir revolt against the tyranny he so detested.

Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland by Paul O'Brien is available from Bookmarks for £11. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to

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Sat 13 Jul 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1808
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