Satanic School

Rosemary Ashton

  • Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture by James Twitchell
    Columbia, 311 pp, £15.60, December 1986, ISBN 0 231 06412 8
  • Shelley and his Circle 1773-1822: Vols VII and VIII edited by Donald Reiman and Doucet Devin Fischer
    Harvard, 1228 pp, £71.95, October 1986, ISBN 0 674 80613 1
  • Shelley’s Venomed Melody by Nora Crook and Derek Guiton
    Cambridge, 273 pp, £25.00, August 1986, ISBN 0 521 32084 4
  • The Journals of Mary Shelley 1814-1844 edited by Paula Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert
    Oxford, 735 pp, £55.00, March 1987, ISBN 0 19 812571 2
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selected Letters edited by H.J. Jackson
    Oxford, 306 pp, £19.50, April 1987, ISBN 0 19 818540 5

‘I delight in a palpable imaginable visitable past – in the nearer distances and the clearer mysteries, the marks and signs of a world we may reach over to as by making a long arm we grasp an object at the other end of our own table ... We are divided of course between liking to feel the past strange and liking to feel it familiar.’ Thus Henry James in the Preface to The Aspern Papers, the germ of which was the story of an American Shelley-worshipper seeking out the eighty-year old Claire Clairmont to trick or wheedle her into handing over precious documents illuminating her youthful relations with Shelley and Byron. There has been a flurry of activity with reference to these poets in our own time: Shelley, Mary Shelley, Byron and their associates have been the subject of recent visitations by literary scholars and editors, by Freudians and students of taboo, by historians of medicine, by novelists (see Amanda Prantera’s recent Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death), and by Ken Russell, who has tried to make them palpable in his latest film, Gothic.

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