Portal:Featured texts

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Featured texts
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A featured text is one which is recognized as among the most complete and highest quality works on Wikisource. These are prominently displayed on the main page, inviting users to read at their leisure.


Featured texts edit
Date Text
2016
January
February The Kiss and its History
March
April The Descent of Man (Darwin)
May
June The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)
July The Discovery of Radium
August
September The Adventures Of A Revolutionary Soldier
October The Panchatantra (Purnabhadra's Recension of 1199 CE)
November
December Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Notes
  1. The Black Cat was originally featured, but this is now a disambiguation page, and featured status has been transferred to Tales (Poe)/The Black Cat.

Current featured text

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Queen Mab (1821) is a black-market edition of the first large poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The poem is structured in nine cantos and was privately published in 1813. Only 250 copies were printed, and these were distributed among Shelley's close friends and acquaintances. The incremental nature of revolution was the theme of his poem, influenced by the aftermath of the French Revolution and William Godwin's idea of "necessity". Shelley believed that the human spirit was essentially virtuous, and that incremental change over time, rather than violent revolution, would overcome society's ills and improve the human condition.

Although the poem was intended for a small and private audience, surplus copies were stored in William Clark's bookshop in London. In 1821, the shopkeeper printed an expurgated edition, and distributed the pirated editions through the black market. The poem created a scandal and was "pounced upon" by the Society for the Prevention of Vice, leading to a dozen more pirated editions. Shelley sought to curtail piracy of the poem, but the poem was deemed illegal and thus not eligible for copyright. William Clark was imprisoned for 4 months for publishing and distributing Queen Mab.

The poem itself is a fairy tale, in which Queen Mab descends to the sleeping Ianthe, taking her spirit to a utopian future world of Shelley's ideals.

Percy Bysshe Shelley by Alfred Clint crop.jpg

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One, pale as yonder waning moon
With lips of lurid blue;
The other, rosy as the morn
When throned on ocean's wave
It blushes o'er the world:
Yet both so passing wonderful!

(Read on...)

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Past featured text

Anthem for Doomed Youth is one of the best-known and most popular of Wilfred Owen's poems. It employs the traditional form of a sonnet. Much of the imagery suggests Christian funeral rituals and the poem moves from infernal noise to mournful silence.

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    —Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,...
(Read on, listen.)

Featured February 2007

More information

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