Idealist, atheist, outcast, political radical and, of course, poet - Percy Bysshe Shelley was, in many ways, the epitome of the Romantic artist. His poetry was an outlet for his passionately held and highly unpopular beliefs, beliefs which resulted in social exclusion, exile, and possibly even his premature death at the age of 29. His work is a monument to his convictions and to the power of the human spirit, and today it is recognized as a key contribution to Romantic literature.
This anthology contains many of Shelley's best-known poems, including "Ozymandias", "The Mask of Anarchy", and "To a Skylark", as well as excerpts from (among others) "Prometheus Unbound" and "Adonaïs", all read by Bertie Carvel, one of the most talented English actors of his generation.
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Bertie Carvel's lovely, smooth British voice sails through these selected Shelley poems. His delivery highlights many sides of Shelley, from the idealistic youth, to the political upstart, making the production an excellent sampling of Shelley's poems. The recording falls short, however, in its timing. The poems seem oddly organized (the fiery poem "The Mask of Anarchy" is followed by the much more sedate "The Cloud"), and the pauses between each poem are so fleeting that in some places the listener confuses a new poem with the previous one. Carvel's impressive performance aside, this collection works better as a recorded catalogue, rather than as a harmonic presentation of Shelley's finest works.
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