In response to:
Lost Tale of a Lost Child from the April 22, 1999 issue
To the Editors:
In his review of Mary Shelley’s Maurice [NYR, April 22], Richard Holmes wonders why no one has thought of having her notes to her husband’s poetry “pulled together and published as a consecutive narrative.” He might like to know that this is precisely what Francesco Rognoni has done in his “Pléiade” of P.B. Shelley’s works, published in Italy by Einaudi-Gallimard in 1995. Mary Shelley’s notes are included consecutively (in Italian)in an appendix; Rognoni describes them as forming “la sua prima e più commossa biografia—nonché un saggio sulle consolazioni e sullo strazio della memoria” (his first and most moving biography—as well as an essay on the consolations and torment of memory). This is just one example of the intelligence of Francesco Rognoni’s edition, which contains all the major poetry with facing-page translations, and is probably the most thoroughly annotated and perceptively commented edition of Shelley currently on the market.
Department of Anglo-American and
Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia
Richard Holmes: replies:
This is welcome news, though I feel more than ever that Mary Shelley’s remarkable Notes deserve to be published as a proper Memoir, under her own name, and as a free-standing text in English. I am now hoping to encourage a British publisher to undertake this.