Date 1874-12-19
Publication Academy
Topic New docs support MacCarthy's Shelley account
AP display
RA display
Subject literature
Keywords new docs
  ↳ Oxford pub & expulsion
Standards historical artifacts
  ↳ facts
Notes Shelley, 12-1872 orig. WMR review of MacCarthy's Shelley.

Annotation details

74 December 19 Academy


Shelley and Peter Finnerty


Rossetti, William M. "Shelley and Peter Finnerty." Academy 2 (December 19, 1874): 137. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Rossetti writes to Academy to add newly discovered information to the colloquy surrounding Shelley's expulsion from Oxford. The new information substantiates a claim made by D.F. MacCarthy in a volume on Shelley that Rossetti had reviewed previously. MacCarthy's claim-which Rossetti supported at the time-was that Shelley had indeed written a particular text for the benefit of a political prisoner, Mr. Peter Finnerty. That text plus another hadn't been conclusively linked to Shelley, but in Rossetti's view, the discovery of Colburn's 1838 work "A Diary illustrative of the Times of George IV" positively confirms the link. This vindicates MacCarthy's point as well as Rossetti's. He also notes some editorial discrepancies and the motives for them in Colburn's text. Rossetti also finds evidence in the "Diary" text that he determined to be important to the more complete historical understanding of Shelley.

William Rossetti mentions the discovery in a letter dated November 10, 1872, to Dante Rossetti in reference to letters Shelley wrote to Elizabeth Hitchener, describing the sale for the benefit of a political prisoner. William Rossetti discusses the importance of this new information and suggests that he has read the letters himself (Rossetti 304).


Historical, journalistic


"stated unmistakeably", "confirms what we previously knew", "conclusive"

Standards of Judgment:

historical fact, deduction


D.F. MacCarthy, Mr. Peter Finnerty, Shelley, Mr. Colburn


definitive, evaluative

Writing technique/tone:

concise, logical


"I now find a strong (I think, conclusive) confirmation of Mr. MacCarthy's ingenious and inciting suggestion."

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Selected Letters of William Michael Rossetti. Ed. Roger Peattie. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. Print.