Cover of the first edition
|Subject||Percy Bysshe Shelley|
Red Shelley is a 1981 work of literary criticism by Paul Foot. In it, the author draws attention to the radical political stance of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as revealed in poems such as "Queen Mab" and "The Masque of Anarchy".
Foot describes how Shelley, while living in Italy, heard the news of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Like Shelley, Foot was an alumnus of University College, Oxford (from which Shelley was expelled for expressing atheist views), and held the poet to be his inspiration in embracing socialism. "The Masque of Anarchy", Foot's favourite poem, was given to his sons to learn off by heart, and a live performance by Maxine Peake at the 2013 Manchester International Festival, to commemorate the anniversary of Peterloo was the basis of a BBC Culture Show documentary which referenced Foot's work.
Communist thinkers such as Karl Marx are known to have found inspiration in Shelley's work. However, critics such as Christopher Hitchens have shed doubt on Foot's interpretation of Shelley's poetry, which "may be as readily pressed into service by any movement".
- Paul O’Brien, "Shelley unbound by a giant of letters", Camden New Journal, 29 July 2005. Accessed 31 July 2013
- Obituary: Paul Foot, The Independent, 20 July 2004. Accessed 31 July 2013
- Review: "Theatre Review: The Masque of Anarchy, Manchester Festival", The Guardian, 14 July 2013. Accessed 31 July 2013
- BBC News: The Masque of Anarchy: Shelley's poem is 'slogan for modern times'. Accessed 31 July 2013
- Ann Wroe, "Spirit for our age", The Guardian, 7 July 2007. Accessed 31 July 2013
- Christopher Hitchens, "An Introduction to the Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley", The Guardian, 28 January 2010. Accessed 31 July 2013