In An Essay on the Picturesque: As Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful; And, on the Use of Studying Pictures, for the Purpose of Improving Real Landscape Uvedale Price claims “the two opposite qualities of roughness, and of sudden variation, joined to that of irregularity” are the most efficient causes of the picturesque landscape. Then he highlights intricacy, wildness, or partial concealment also as key elements, while he says the standard of the picturesque landscape is the art of painting. Here is a strained relationship between those dynamic elements in the scenery and the static and stereotyped expression of picture art. This inconsistency, I contend, is the basis of the picturesque landscape. In An Essay Price describes “hollow lanes and bye roads” under old pollarded trees as a typical picturesque landscape. This is a joint work of nature and humans living in it. This description appears before the definition of the word “picturesque” and is repeated several times in An Essay. This demonstrates its importance for him. In his description of these “hollow lanes” or a ruined building overgrown with weeds Price emphasizes the significance of “accidents and neglect” or “time and accidents” which complete the ideal landscape for him. In these wild scenes he finds energy, or dynamism, of the vegetations, which leads to even a germination of an ecological view on natural power. In the second book of the second edition he tries to convince the reader how the cottage buildings of villagers and the villages themselves have been established for a longer period of “time and accidents.” Price envisions the landscapes of nature and those of human community as being formed through time and space. In the changing period of the 1790s Price was searching a way to describe the surrounding circumstances outside of the conventions.
In his essay, A Defence of Poetry, P. B. Shelley compares poetry to hieroglyphics. The metaphor of hieroglyphics is used only once in this essay, but deciphering hieroglyphics is significantly linked to creative actions in both Percy’s “Alastor” and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. Particularly, in Defence, the metaphor of hieroglyphics directly touches the core of Percy Shelley’s theory on poetry. His theory focuses on the complicated relationship between poetic language and human thought. For Shelley, poetic language connotes visual ideas which create a necessary relationship between language and human thought. Thus, he seems to associate the quality of hieroglyphics with the visual one which builds the necessary relationship with human thought. On the other hand, he admits that language is arbitrarily associated with its referent. This is a dilemma in his poetic theory which makes it difficult to understand the metaphor of hieroglyphics. Though Tilottama Rajan successfully interprets the metaphor embodying both the possibility and the limit of visualized language, her discussion focuses on William Warburton’s influence on Shelley and then excludes other possible sources for Shelley’s view toward hieroglyphics. Critics have discussed whether Shelley is conscious of Warburton’s groundbreaking view of hieroglyphics which suggests hieroglyphics’ phonetic quality in the eighteenth century. Yet, this essay proposes that another source might be Erasmus Darwin since Darwin compares hieroglyphics to poetry in The Temple of Nature. Unlike Shelley, however, Darwin emphasizes the visual quality of hieroglyphics as animation of poetry. It is true Shelley adapts Darwin’s hieroglyphics to his theory on poetry, but we cannot deny that he is also conscious of other arguments on hieroglyphics. His contemporary arguments were divergent. Influenced by this historical background to the hieroglyphics arguments, Shelley’s view of hieroglyphics is recreated on the basis of his theory on language and view on the relationship between picture and poetry.