An Odyssey of the Soul, Shelley's Alastor

By Harold Leroy Hoffman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
CONCLUSION

Looking back over the impressions from books and from nature which helped to bring this odyssey of a beautiful but ineffectual soul into being, we may feel that we have dissipated the spiritual unity of the poem in a mass of crude details. It will be well to reassemble, if we can, the essential impressions in a pattern roughly corresponding to that of the poem and to try to realize at the same time something of the way in which the creative impulse worked as it swept them up from the chaos of the subliminal mind to live a life different from anything they had known before, while by this very process of selection it doomed other impressions to continue in the darkness of unrealized being.

Let us return to that all-important moment when the poet dreamed of the veiled maiden. In harmony with the vague Eastern geography of the poem, it was an oriental romance which brought the Vale of Cashmire, and with it the "divine Luxima," into this pattern woven of ideas and images. The exquisite Indian, whose motions seemed too ethereal to belong to earth, retains in this second incarnation the same insubstantial qualities. Attuned to the poet's inmost soul, she is no more than a vision that, fading quickly into darkness, leaves the anguished lover to make his way to the haunts of men and finally to the seashore.

-126-

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An Odyssey of the Soul, Shelley's Alastor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter II - Allegory 9
  • Chapter III - Imagery 59
  • Chapter IV - Conclusion 126
  • Notes 135
  • Bibliography 159
  • Index 165
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