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"But the Cold World Shall Not Know:" A Reading of Shelley's "Julian and Maddalo" as a Detective Stor

Authors
  • Dechene, Antoine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Source
ORBi
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

This essay offers a reading of Shelley's "Julian and Maddalo" as a Detective Story, or rather, as a metacognitive mystery tale. The poem indeed asks important questions about the possibility and reliability of knowledge. The detective-poet's quest for higher truths is confronted with the impenetrable forces of the sublime and the grotesque and is thus bound to remain unfulfilled. Interpretation is further complicated as the roles of detective, criminal, and victim are gradually interwoven and Julian's faith in human free will is threatened by a reality in which mere chance leads those who desperately try to produce meaning to madness and death.

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