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Androgyny as Mental Revolution in Act 4 of Prometheus UnboundApart from in his translation of Plato’s Symposium as The Banquet, the word ‘androgyny’ does not appear within Shelley’s writings, but androgynous images are extant throughout his works. The androgynous union of Asia and Prometheus, the ungendering of Demogorgon, and the Earth and the Moon’s shifting gendered pronouns in Act 4 echo Shelley’s desire for ‘a future state of being’ wherein ‘these detestable distinctions [of male and female] will surely be abolished’. The Banquet is a catalyst for the lyrical drama’s composition, wherein androgyny becomes Shelley’s central strategy for inciting mental revolution in his audience of ideal readers. Shelley assumes the self-ordained role of Plato’s ideal reader through his creative translation of The Banquet, where the mental union of writer and translator radically expands androgyny as the traditional union of the masculine and the feminine to include the psychic union of the poet and the reader. Drawing upon the dialogic, dramatic form of Plato’s text, his subtle instruction of his reader, and his playfulness with gender, Shelley transmutes elements of The Banquet into verse in Prometheus Unbound in order to encourage a mental revolution in his own readership.
The sister arts: Textile crafts between paint, print, and practiceThis article explores intersections between portraiture, printed genre images, and conduct literature in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain, focusing on representations of needlework between these cultural forms. In extant scholarship, needlework has been characterised as an important site of debate, a discursive locus wherein the qualities of appropriate femininity were sketched out and redefined. This article centres on the very mechanisms by which this discourse operated, arguing that visual and literary images of needlework were central to the creation of a grammar of respectable femininity, a symbolic language that simultaneously advocated maternal instruction, domestic industry, and marital eligibility.