Elisabetta Marino, “A sagacity that can penetrate into the depths of futurity”: revisionismo storico e scenari possibili in The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck di Mary Shelley
Influenced by Walter Scott’s historical novels, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck: A Romance (eventually released in 1830) has long been overlooked by most critics and scholars. Indeed, up until recently, little attention has been paid to Mary Shelley’s attempt to delve into British history, widely perceived as both an escapist retreat into the past, and an open disavowal of her commitment to social and political reform which, on the other hand, was evident in her previous literary endeavours. Nonetheless, as this essay sets out to elucidate, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, a narrative focused on the pretender to the English throne who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury (one of the two “Princes in the Tower”), may be perceived as Mary Shelley’s attempt to actively employ history as an effective instrument to reflect and ponder on current-day problems. After all, in his essay entitled Of History and Romance (1797), William Godwin had already emphasized that the attentive study of history could offer valuable insights into the future. Hence, it could be argued that, far from signaling Mary Shelley’s lack of engagement, her fourth novel actually aimed at delving into highly debated issues, such as tyranny, power and, as will be shown, even the role of women in society.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Elisabetta Marino, "“A sagacity that can penetrate into the depths of futurity”: revisionismo storico e scenari possibili in The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck di Mary Shelley" in: "2020 / 25 Prospero. Rivista di letterature e culture straniere", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2020 pp. 113-131
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