Shelley and the Hermeneutics of Abbreviation

This essay addresses Percy Shelley’s exploration of linguistic brevity as a temporal and spatial phenomenon. Beginning with Shelley’s rethinking of John Horne Tooke’s account of grammatical abbreviation and of the tropological and iconographic significance of the figure of the wingéd Hermes (Mercury), the essay also draws intertextual connections in Shelley’s poetry to Horace’s “Ars Poetica” and to the “Homeric Hymn to Hermes.”