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Percy Bysshe Shelley's Laon and Cythna

April 2016

"This edition of Laon and Cythna is of vital significance for the study of Romantic literature."

-Madeleine Callaghan, Keats-Shelley Journal


Laon and Cythna is one of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s most celebrated, and most controversial, literary works. At once philosophical treatise and love story, it follows the adventures of a pair of siblings who lead a political uprising based on socialist, feminist, and ecological ideals, only to be executed for treason. In its own time Shelley’s poem was condemned by some for promoting sedition, atheism, promiscuity, and incest, while others praised its beauty and radical vision. Although it inspired a generation of writers and activists, today Laon and Cythna is hardly read except by scholars. This edition seeks to correct that oversight and to introduce new audiences to this important and powerful text.

Historical appendices provide context for Shelley’s political and philosophical ideas, contemporary feminism, and the treatment of Asia and the Middle East in Romantic literature.

Available at Broadview Press

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