Date 1874-02-28
Publication Academy
Topic WMR reviews Garnett's edition of Shelley
AP display
RA display
Subject literature
Keywords inaccuracy
  ↳ mistranslation
  ↳ omission
Standards facts
  ↳ history
Notes Shelley edition, disputed emendations.

Annotation details

74 February 28 Academy


Review Garnet's Shelley edition.


Rossetti, William M., "The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, now first given from the author's original Editions, with some hitherto Inedited Pieces, 1st and 2nd Series, Edited and prefaced by the Author of Tennysoniana." Academy (1874): 225. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


While Rossetti approves of the "intention" of the book, he finds fault with several editorial emendations to Shelley's work and points out mistakes and faults in the translation of some words as well as the correct wording of some of the poems.

Rossetti compares some of the book's verses to those he knows as accurate lines from Shelley and faults the editor for mistakes and incorrect substitutions in the verse.

Rossetti acknowledges that there are some good qualities of this collection, particularly the inclusion of the then-controversial "Revolt of Islam." Rossetti states that students of Shelley should find this book useful. But, on the question of whether the "present reprint is a good one, according to its own standard? We cannot answer in the affirmative."

Rossetti says that Garnet should know that one of the poems he attributes to Shelley was in fact by another author whom Garnet had previously edited; also, Garnet has omitted the notes to "Queen Mab" that were in earlier editions, an "unaccountable omission," making this edition inferior to previous editions.

Rossetti faults the editor for saying that he eschewed emendations-but in fact he included some that Rossetti finds to be inaccurate. He takes the editor to task, saying that the variation of this edition from the originals and other editions makes this edition less valuable. Although the publisher claims that the edition is "the most correct and trustworthy," Rossetti closes with the rejoinder "if that's so, too bad for all the others."




accuracy, important notes, context, omission, misprint, "serious discrepancies", editorial problems

Standards of Judgment:

Rossetti's knowledge of Shelley's work; good editorial practice


Chatto & Windus, Shelley, Moxon, Mr. Garnet



Writing technique/tone:

incisive, critical, disappointed


"The professed object is to give Shelley's work 'as he first printed it, unmutilated and untampered with;'" "If so many inaccuracies occur within the small range of nineteen pages, how many may we expect in the 802 pages of which the two volumes consist?"