This is the first edition of Percy Byshhe Shelley’s poem ‘The Mask of Anarchy’, published in 1832. In August 1819 a huge but peaceful crowd of 80,000 had assembled in St Peter’s Fields in Manchester to hear speakers who were demanding parliamentary reform. When the unprovoked cavalry charged the throng, many innocent people were killed or seriously injured. Increased state repression ensued. The event became known as ‘the Peterloo Massacre’, and inspired Shelley’s response the following month.
His poem was composed in broadsheet ballad form; but because of its controversial content, it was published only posthumously in 1832.
- Article by:
- Stephen Hebron
Stephen Hebron looks at P B Shelley’s 'Ozymandias', showing how his use of form and vocabulary produce a poem that transcends its sources.
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