In 1810, while still at Eton, Percy Bysshe Shelley published Zastrozzi, the first of his two early Gothic prose romances. He published the second, St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, a year later. These sensationalist novels present some of Shelley’s earliest thoughts on irresponsible self-indulgence and violent revenge, and offer remarkable insight into an imagination that is strikingly modern. This new Broadview Literary Texts edition also brings together the fragmentary remains of Shelley’s other prose fiction, including his chapbook, Wolfstein, and contemporary reviews both by Shelley and about his work.
“With the current widespread reappraisal of both the importance of Shelley’s early works and the centrality of Gothic fiction to the Romantic Period, this could hardly be a more timely edition, and it is splendidly introduced and edited by Stephen Behrendt.” — Neil Fraistat, University of Maryland
“For the first time ever, this edition presents complete texts of Shelley’s two early prose romances, Zastrozzi, A Romance and St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, within a thick context of related materials: contemporary reviews of both works, Shelley’s own reviews of contemporary fiction, Shelley’s other works of prose fiction, and a shortened chapbook version of St. Irvyne. This material, scrupulously edited from original documents, is combined with a knowledgeable introduction, and thus guided, readers of the important source material brought together originally for this edition, will discover a range of illuminating new ways to think about Shelley’s artistic development, his engagements with the aesthetic and political possibilities of prose fiction, and the cultural phenomenon of Gothic writing and reading in the discursive public sphere. Stephen Behrendt’s edition of Percy Shelley’s prose fiction makes a unique and rewarding contribution to studies of Shelley, Gothic fiction, and the literary marketplace during the Romantic era.” — Greg Kucich, University of Notre Dame