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Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122852.001.0001

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The Sensitive-Plant: Evaluation and the Self-Conscious Poem: Shelley (2)

The Sensitive-Plant: Evaluation and the Self-Conscious Poem: Shelley (2)

(p.155) 6 The Sensitive-Plant: Evaluation and the Self-Conscious Poem: Shelley (2)
Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem

Michael O'Neill

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on The Sensitive-Plant. It examines the linked issues of evaluation and literary value, issues raised by thinking about the self-conscious poem. Such a poem, in Shelley's hands, reflects on its own activity in creating meaning and intimating significance, and it provokes the reader to reflect on his or her activity as actualizer of meaning and significance. A poem that deals in fictions, The Sensitive-Plant challenges itself and its reader to decide whether there is scope for belief in the ‘modest creed’ which the poem finishes by formulating. It is argued that the value of The Sensitive-Plant resides in the way that it self-consciously alerts us to poetry's role as creator and assigner of value.

Keywords:   Shelley, reader, self-consciousness

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