The Gossip, June 23, 1821.

It heads the poem by calling it "a very singular production, abounding with poetic beauties, lax morality, and wild incoherant fantasies." The review gets into the heart of the poem and critiques Shelley for his radical thinking. "As usual, with those who depart from the common rules of life, he affects comtempt for all who do not enter into his feelings." Thus, the poem is thought as too radical to be enjoyed by those who are more consevative thinkers. "The genuis and feelings of the author will be readily percieved...; and with high admiration of his talents, we close his poem with a pang of regret that his mind should be harrassed and wasted on such wild and impracticable schemes of happiness, totally at variance with the experience of mankind, and the interests of society." The reviewer was obviously saddened by the fact that Shelley was wasting his capabilites in writing such radical poems.

The Magazine of Fine Arts, August 17, 1822.

This was a very melodramic review of the work. For example, "Death ought to suppress all feelings but those of commisseration. In passing our judgment on the present occassion, we feel ourselves placed in the solom position of the Egyptian judges of the dead." This review used such thick language, it was hard to decern whether the reviewer liked the poem or not. The charge here is about his atheism and his attacks on Christianity. About the poem itself: "the poem is generally wild and mystical, is gemmed with passages of the purest, most heartfelt, most enthusastic poetry." So, I assume that that is a compliment, and the reviewer appreciated the beauty of the poem and the skill of the author. However, "that the author had a view to vindicate incest is more, than can be learnt from the poem; if it be so, the horror of such a perversion of talent... " Basically, in total, this review says what all of the reviews had said: Shelley is a genius, but it is a pity that he chooses the topics that he does. (I hope that this made some sense, it was hard to read and comprehend.)

Blackwood's Magazine, Feburary 1822.

The review is in the form of a letter and it is entitled "Letter from London." It is attributed to Charles Ollier, the friend of Hunt and the publisher of Shelley. This is thought of as merely a long footnote to the work. He calls Shelley a genius and praises the "impenetrable mysticism of its greater portion, the delicious beauty of the rest..." The reviewer was "enchanted" by reading this poem. He too admits to be a bit taken aback from the incest part, but this doesn't really bother him that much. In all it is the most positive of the three reviews.

--Andrea Sachs