AuthorThoma, Carol Lynn Jennings.
Committee ChairMcNiece, Gerald
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractScholars have long known that Thomas Jefferson Hogg altered the letters to himself in his 1858 Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, yet the book is still regarded as an essential source of information for Shelley's early years, particularly the Oxford period. But the biography is seriously flawed, not only by extensive alterations which affect other documents besides Shelley's letters to Hogg, but by false assertions, suppressed information, invented anecdotes, and fictionalized depictions of Shelley as a bumbling eccentric and Hogg as the rational friend on whom he is wholly dependent. This study traces the history of the controversy, explaining the reluctance of Shelley scholars to discredit the book, and provides a biography of Hogg, accompanied by an analysis of his character and motives, as a basis for comparison with the Hogg depicted in the Life. The body of the paper analyzes the Life itself, with special attention to the influential Oxford chapters. Hogg's strategies are identified, illustrated, and analyzed, with badly distorted documents placed beside the originals in parallel columns to facilitate comparison. The paper concludes with a brief analysis of the harmful effects of Hogg's Life on Shelley biography and criticism and a suggested procedure for solving these problems. Related documents, many of them unpublished, are included in the Appendix.