Effect of Youthful Age of Shelley on Mont Blanc Compositon

Mont Blanc by Percy Bysshe Shelley is full of expressions of effervescence which reflect the influence the author’s youthful age had on the composition of the poem. Throughout the poem, Shelley employs expressions of dynamism and vibrancy in the interpretation of the things he sees and experiences in the mountain area of Mont Blanc. An attempt to pick out hints of the effect of his youthful age on the tone of the poem as it relates to each of the five sections of the poem is the aim of this write-up.

Leading up to his narration of the mountain, the author uses animated expressions in his description of nature to illustrate the universe. This is best evidenced in the latter part of the first section of the poem in which he says:

”In the wild woods, among the mountains lone, where waterfalls around it leap for ever, where woods and winds contend, and a vast river over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.” (Lines 8-12)

The use of such vivacious expressions, which are commonly associated with youthful exuberance, could be a subtle indication of his youthful age while composing the poem.  In the subsequent sections of the poem, contrary to the vibrant theme of his description of the elements of nature he observes, Shelley describes the “primeval” (Line 99) Mont Blanc as “still” and “serene” (Line 61), which is in tune with the general opinion of the youth who usually tend towards motion and upheaval.

In all, the most compelling argument for the effect Shelley’s youthful age had on the tone of his poem is the use of vivacious expressions in his description of the mountain and its surroundings.

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2 thoughts on “Effect of Youthful Age of Shelley on Mont Blanc Compositon

  1. I like the idea that the exuberant language is an expression of the author’s energetic youthfulness. What might this mean, though, in context of the poem’s examination of mortality?

    • I believe his use of exuberant expressions in the sublimity of the poem could be his way of expressing a dread for mortality. Given that he was still young when he wrote the poem, the idea of mortality certainly had to trigger a bit of fear and trepidation in him, and it is in an attempt to express these feelings that he employs the use of sublimity in his writing, hence the exuberant language.

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