The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Skepticism

The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Skepticism

The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Skepticism

The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Skepticism

Excerpt

While this study attempts a new approach to Shelley's thought through an investigation of his hitherto neglected scepticism, it necessarily recognizes four other traditions as important influences on the poet — political radicalism, empiricism, Platonism, and Christianity. The radical, Platonic, and Christian influences on Shelley are not presented in detail because they are well known and require no fresh demonstration.

A new approach to Shelley's thought seems imperative in view of the so-called contradictions discovered in it by critic after critic. My purpose, accordingly, is not to weigh one philosophic influence against another but to investigate Shelley's intellectual coherence, to seek the principle by which the poet may have reconciled ideas generally associated with antagonistic traditions. I find such a principle in his hitherto neglected scepticism, which forms the logical center of his thought, the point where his empiricism terminates and his idealism begins. In other words, scepticism is important in Shelley not despite but because of what might be called his eclecticism.

C. E. PULOS

Lincoln, Nebraska
April 15, 1954 . . .

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