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The Necessity of Atheism

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"The Necessity of Atheism" is an essay on atheism by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, printed in 1811 by Charles and William Phillips in Worthing while Shelley was a student at University College, Oxford. An enigmatically signed copy of the short tract was sent to all the heads of Oxford colleges at the University. At that time the content was so shocking to the authorities that he was rusticated for contumacy in his refusing to deny authorship, together with his friend and fellow student, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, who may have been co-author. A revised and expanded version of the text was included as one of the notes to Shelley's poem Queen Mab in 1813, and some reprints with the title The Necessity of Atheism are based on this rather than the 1811 pamphlet.
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date of publication: 1811
genre: treatise

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