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Monday, June 14, 2004

Ozymandias redux redux redux . . . .

click for 800 x 600

Waving at the distant Ozymandias stuff again has brought very kind emails (thanks again!) from some who (like all but six unfortunates) weren't in the stands during the original bout. Brian Richards has drawn my attention to Guy Davenport's essay on the circumstances of the sonnet's composition, which i'm now eager to read. i must admit i had such meagre knowledge of them i was completely unaware Shelley seems to have produced "Ozymandias" in competition with his friend Horace Smith, whose sonnet, the egregiously titled "On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Desarts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below," was published a month later than Shelley's. In hunting around for stuff on the web about Smith & Shelley, I found the image above in a gallery of lit-inspired (Bukowski & Yeats, too) designs at the superannuated site of the beautifully named Tadhg Aidan O'Higgins. It nicely juxta- and superimposes the two sonnets over a desart setting. Theorizer of literary taste and value might benefit from considering Shelley's poem against Smith's. Ditto Keats's orthopteran sonnet against Hunt's (on the web side by side here, along with a vote bizarrely showing Hunt besting Keats by a factor of three-to-one [sample comment: "John Keats's was very long, and too many similies. Leigh Hunt's was simple and nicely written."], confirming once more the sagacity and helpfulness of some literary information circulating the web.).
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