Shelley’s “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty”—perhaps one of his greatest works—is a wonderfully Platonic exploration of the “One and the Many” paradox. Rather than treating beauty as a thing in-and-of itself, or something that can be simply pinned down using a system of perfect categories, Shelley recognizes a “Spirit of Beauty.” This “Spirit” manifests itself in various ways and countless new forms throughout the material world. Shelley thus treats “the Many” as the endless variations and discrete expressions of “the One.”
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