Mary Shelley wrote that The Witch of Atlas “is a brilliant congregation of ideas such as his senses gathered, and his fancy coloured, during his rambles in the sunny land he so much loved.” She objected, however, that Shelley was “discarding human interest and passion” in favour of “fantastic ideas” which were “abstract” and “wildly fanciful” and “full of brilliant imagery”. She argued that Shelley should have written works that were more consonant with the popular tastes of that time: “The surpassing excellence of The Cenci had made me greatly desire that Shelley should increase his popularity by adopting subjects that would more suit the popular taste than a poem conceived in the abstract and dreamy spirit of the Witch of Atlas.” Shelley responded in the prefatory verses that she was “critic-bitten … by some review” and defended the work as “a visionary rhyme”.

I don’t know why but I love imagining this exchange between them.

diamond sutra — red pine

“This initial section lists the six things necessary for a sermon on the Dharma: belief (thus), a witness (I have heard), a time (once), a speaker, (the Buddha), a place (Shravasti), and an audience (bhikshus and bodhisattvas). A sutra cannot exist without the presence of all six. Hence, they are placed at the beginning.”