pastnow

Shelley

On May 21 1813, Harriet Shelley writes to her friend Catherine Nugent and mentions that Shelley’s poem Queen Mab is being privately printed:

Mr. Shelley continues perfectly well, and his Poem of ‘Queen Mab’ is begun [to be printed], tho’ it must not be published under pain of death, because it is too much against every existing establishment. It is to be privately distributed to his friends, and some copies sent over to America. Do you know of any one that would wish for so dangerous a gift?

Apparently, Shelley’s publisher Thomas Hookham had decided that the poem, with its utopian themes, was too dangerous for him to publish it. Shelley had decided to do it himself 

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