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Alice Robinson

Alice Robinson

Research project title

'The Vigorous Awakening Spring in That Divinest Climate': Ancient Rome in Percy Shelley's Writing


Prof Michael Rossington, Dr Claire Stocks and Dr Anke Walter

Contact details


Research interests

  • intertextuality
  • classical reception
  • Latin language
  • The Long Eighteenth Century
  • eco-criticism
Alice Robinson

A brief outline of my research project

My research investigates how Latin literature inspires Percy Shelley’s writing, particularly how ancient Roman authors inform his philosophical and radical outlook on human society. In 1813, Percy Shelley published Queen Mab, a controversial poem about humankind’s wrongdoings throughout history and in the author’s present day. Queen Mab contains resonations of Lucretius, Pliny, and Horace, who aid Shelley’s construction of an innovative timeline in which a utopian future has undone all of humanity’s acts of transgression since the dawn of civilisation.

My first chapter offers an original, in-depth analysis of this important intertext. My second and third chapters move forwards in time, to Italy, where Shelley wrote, among other works, Prometheus Unbound and The Cenci. In my current chapter on the former text, I am researching the influence of Lucan, poet of the Bellum Civile, analysing how this 65 CE anti-epic informs Shelley’s conceptualisation of generational cycles and tyrannical leadership. My fourth chapter then analyses Latin influences in The Triumph of Life, composed in 1822.

I hope that my research will throw new light on previously unchartered intertextual moments between Shelley and his ancient Roman sources, and provide new avenues for researching the reception of Latin texts in the Romantic period more widely.

Research activities

My academic background

  • 2015-2018: BA in Classical Studies and English, Newcastle University
  • 2018-2019: MA in Classics, Newcastle University