The Online Keats-Shelley Journal Bibliography:
A Brief Introduction
Over the past three or four decades the annual bibliography published in the Keats-Shelley Journal has come to be an indispensible resource for students and scholars working on the later Romantic writers. I hope the most recent edition of the bibliography, appearing in the closing pages of volume 49 of the Journal, is no exception. Still, as is perhaps fitting for the last issue for works published in the second millenium, the present incarnation of the print bibliography is also a transitional workone that is more tightly coordinated with this internet counterpart than its predecessors have been. The closer integration has significant implications for both the print and the online versions of the bibliography.
Experienced readers of the Keats-Shelley Journal will note that, at least in outward form, the current installment of the print bibliography seems of a piece with the Journal's traditional practice: the bibliography covers mainly works published in a single year (1999), there are the familiar divisions between works on Romanticism in general and works primarily about one of the overlapping "circles" of late-Romantic writers, all the items (including book reviews) are listed by author's last name, many of the items are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations, and so forth. This has long been the design of the bibliography, and many readers have found the structure to be quite serviceable. It is convenient to skim, and the index makes it reasonably easy to locate writers and scholars whose work appears in the bibliography. Nonetheless, like virtually all annual print reference works, the Keats-Shelley Journal bibliography has also been subject to the limitations of the form. For example:
- In any print bibliography, space is always limited; thus, regardless of the abilities and resources of the bibliographer, descriptions of individual items must always be less detailed than one might hope.
- Because of the annual publication deadlinethe bibliography has to go to press in May for publication in fallit has not always been possible for the bibliographer to lay hands on each item included; as a result, the annotations have tended to be somewhat inconsistently supplied.
- Because scholarly reviews frequently appear two or three years after the publication of the reviewed book, linking a book to its reviews has tended to be a tedious task of searching through the indexes of several editions of the bibliography to identify a handful of individual entries.
- Since the author-centered "circles"the traditional organizational template for the bibliographytend to overlap, it is often difficult to know where to place a work that spills over these somewhat arbitrary distinctions. The present bibliography lists, for instance, Jeffrey Cox's recent monograph on the Cockney School with its subtitle, "Keats, Shelley, Hunt, and their Circle." The book is cataloged in the "General Romanticism" section of the print bibliography; hence, a reader looking only in, say, the Keats section will not find Cox's work. Again, a thorough search requires some considerable page flipping and note taking as one jumps between bibliography and index.
- And finally, once a print bibliography goes to press, errors and omissions are virtually impossible to correct.
Such are some the limitations inherent in any annual print bibliography, but there are also some considerable advantages to the print bibliography that are as yet unmatched by any electronic resource. It is, for example, far easier and more comfortable to browse through a print source than to search an electronic file. Such browsing makes possible a thousand serendipitous discoveries that are often intellectually provocative but that a bald database search makes difficult at best (and impossible at worst). It would, of course, be desirable to preserve the considerable strengths of a print bibliography even as the work begins to adapt to an electronic format. The challenge in building this online bibliography, then, has been to use the capabilities of hypertext to overcome some of the limitations inherent in an annual print bibliography while simultaneously striving to make the resulting electronic bibliography as comfortable and easy to navigate as the Keats-Shelley Journal itself.
The online bibliography borrows its basic structure from the original printed in the Keats-Shelley Journal. In fact, users will note that a prominent link on the homepage leads to a large central file called the Letterpress Bibliography which, as its name suggests, is an online version of the printed bibliography, complete with its subdivisions into sections on Byron, Hazlitt and Hunt, Keats, and The Shelleys. (This Letterpress Bibliography strives to be comprehensiveit should list each and every item cataloged for 1999.) Additional links on the homepage lead directly to author-specific bibliographies.
Readers will soon note, however, that these files are not simply transcriptions of the print source. There have been some substantial changes.
First, note that the author-specific bibliographies (as opposed to the author sections within the main Letterpress Bibliography) have been further dividedHazlitt and Hunt each have their own files, as do Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. These more precisely defined author bibliographies are made possible by the relative freedom of space in an electronic environment since individual works can now be repeated in different author-specific bibliographies. Thus, while Cox's book on the Cockney School may appear only once in the Letterpress Bibliography, it also appears in the P. B. Shelley bibliography, the Keats bibliography, the Hunt bibliography, and so forth. This seemingly minor alteration has a major advantage in the general utility of the online bibliography: Readers should be able to view (and print) relatively complete author-specific annual bibliographies without needing to resort to the index to piece together several disparate individual items.
Second, all book reviews have been stripped from the main bibliography and listed alphabetically by reviewer in a separate file called, predictably enough, "Reviews 1999." Readers interested in locating reviews by a particular scholar or simply interested in scanning citations for book reviews published in 1999 should consult this comprehensive reviews file. Most Web browsers, incidentally, will also allow readers to search the file for any keyword. Thus, one rough-and-ready technique for locating reviews of a particular book is simply to search the file for some keyworda monograph author's name, for exampleassociated with that book. (For more information on locating reviews of a particular book, see below.)
Third, most book-length items (monographs and edited collections) in the bibliography are listed not only in the bibliography pages themselves but also in individual Web pages that can contain considerably more information than the mere citation and bibliographer's annotation. For example, this link will open a browser window containing a page of information on Cox's Cockney School book. Some of the material available on this pagethe citation and annotationis duplicated from the bibliography proper; but other material is new. For instance, the page presents the table of contents of the relevant monograph, a listing of scholarly reviews, and even a link to the publisher's Website. (The page could easily be expanded to include other sorts of information, from authors' abstracts to readers' comments.)
These individual monograph/edited collection pages open all sorts of possibilities for the bibliography. Most obvious, perhaps, is the immediate link between a scholarly book and its reviews. As the bibliography continues to develop and as additional years of work are cataloged, it should be possible to list all the reviews of a given monograph on a single page thus avoiding the index- and page-flipping challenge posed by the annual print bibliographies. Readers interested in finding out about a particular monograph should be able to print fairly full descriptions and lists of reviews, a capability that will facilitate the processes of note-taking, effective library research, and even library acquisitions. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly common for journals to publish reviews, if not complete articles, on the Web; hence, the pages in the present bibliography that list reviews can now link directly to the full text available on some external site. (Nicholas Roe's review of the Cox book demonstrates the possibilities heresimply click the URL for the review to see the full text.)
Eventually, we hope to provide individual item pages for all article-length pieces as well. Such pages would make it possible for a simple search engine to retrieve sets of items based on keywords supplied by the reader. In any case, it is our hope that the bibliography will soon begin to take advantage of the electronic capacity for searching, sorting, and sifting information; the aim is to produce a comprehensive and malleable bibliography written by Romanticists for the use of Romanticists.
And finally, a note about the coverage of the Bibliography. Considerable effort has been made to include all substantial critical and/or bibliographical work published in 1999 relevant to the second-generation Romantic writers. Annotations have been provided for items of article length or longer dealing with one of the focal writers of the BibliographyByron, Keats, Hazlitt, Hunt, Percy and Mary Shelley. Items of more general concern to Romanticists as well as items about the first generation Romantic writers have been included, but usually without annotation. Likewise, the listing of reviews is offered without annotation. Given the limitations of library holdings and bibliographical research databases, some omissions are regrettable but probably inevitable. Please send any additions and corrections to the bibliographer, Kyle Grimes.
A bibliography like this is a collaborative effort. While the basic design for the online Keats-Shelley Journal Bibliography is my own, the resource would not exist without the encouragment of Steve Jones, the editor of the Keats-Shelley Journal, and Lee Person, Chair of the Department of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In addition, Heather Martin, Eddie Luster, and Jilla Smith have all provided assistance with the research and Mike Duvall and Carl Stahmer have provided some very able technical assistance. I am most grateful for the help.
Romantic Circles - Home / Scholarly Resources / Current Bibliography: Keats-Shelley Journal / Introduction
"Percy Shelley" redirects here. For the son of the poet, see Percy Florence Shelley. For the English potter, see Percy Shelley (potter).
Percy Bysshe Shelley ( ( listen); 4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by some as among the finest lyric poets in the English language, and one of the most influential. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views, Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock, and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.
Shelley is perhaps best known for classic poems such as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud and The Masque of Anarchy. His other major works include a groundbreaking verse drama The Cenci (1819) and long, visionary poems such as Queen Mab (later reworked as The Daemon of the World), Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonaïs, Prometheus Unbound (1820)—widely considered to be his masterpiece—Hellas: A Lyrical Drama (1821), and his final, unfinished work, The Triumph of Life (1822).
Shelley's close circle of friends included some of the most important progressive thinkers of the day, including his father-in-law, the philosopher William Godwin, and Leigh Hunt. Though Shelley's poetry and prose output remained steady throughout his life, most publishers and journals declined to publish his work for fear of being arrested for either blasphemy or sedition. Shelley's poetry sometimes had only an underground readership during his day, but his poetic achievements are widely recognized today, and his political and social thought impacted the Chartist and other movements in England, and reach down to the present day. Shelley's theories of economics and morality, for example, had a profound influence on Karl Marx; his early—perhaps first—writings on nonviolent resistance influenced Leo Tolstoy.
Shelley became a lodestone to the subsequent three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, W. B. Yeats, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan.Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley's writings and theories on non-violence in protest and political action. Shelley's popularity and influence has continued to grow in contemporary poetry circles.
Shelley was born on 4 August 1792 at Field Place, Broadbridge Heath, near Horsham, West Sussex, England. He was the eldest legitimate son of Sir Timothy Shelley (1753–1844), a Whig Member of Parliament for Horsham from 1790–92 and for Shoreham between 1806–12, and his wife, Elizabeth Pilfold (1763–1846), a Sussex landowner. He had four younger sisters and one much younger brother. He received his early education at home, tutored by the Reverend Evan Edwards of nearby Warnham. His cousin and lifelong friend Thomas Medwin, who lived nearby, recounted his early childhood in his The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. It was a happy and contented childhood spent largely in country pursuits such as fishing and hunting.
In 1802 he entered the Syon House Academy of Brentford, Middlesex. In 1804, Shelley entered Eton College, where he fared poorly, and was subjected to an almost daily mob torment at around noon by older boys, who aptly called these incidents "Shelley-baits". Surrounded, the young Shelley would have his books torn from his hands and his clothes pulled at and torn until he cried out madly in his high-pitched "cracked soprano" of a voice. This daily misery could be attributed to Shelley's refusal to take part in fagging and his indifference towards games and other youthful activities. Because of these peculiarities he acquired the nickname "Mad Shelley". Shelley possessed a keen interest in science at Eton, which he would often apply to cause a surprising amount of mischief for a boy considered to be so sensible. Shelley would often use a frictional electric machine to charge the door handle of his room, much to the amusement of his friends. His friends were particularly amused when his gentlemanly tutor, Mr Bethell, in attempting to enter his room, was alarmed at the noise of the electric shocks, despite Shelley's dutiful protestations. His mischievous side was again demonstrated by "his last bit of naughtiness at school", which was to blow up a tree on Eton's South Meadow with gunpowder. Despite these jocular incidents, a contemporary of Shelley, W. H. Merie, recalled that Shelley made no friends at Eton, although he did seek a kindred spirit without success.
On 10 April 1810 he matriculated at University College, Oxford. Legend has it that Shelley attended only one lecture while at Oxford, but frequently read sixteen hours a day. His first publication was a Gothic novel, Zastrozzi (1810), in which he vented his early atheisticworldview through the villain Zastrozzi; this was followed at the end of the year by St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian: A Romance (dated 1811). In the same year, Shelley, together with his sister Elizabeth, published Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire and, while at Oxford, he issued a collection of verses (ostensibly burlesque but quite subversive), Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson, with Thomas Jefferson Hogg.
In 1811 Shelley anonymously published a pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism, which was brought to the attention of the university administration, and he was called to appear before the College's fellows, including the Dean, George Rowley. His refusal to repudiate the authorship of the pamphlet resulted in his expulsion from Oxford on 25 March 1811, along with Hogg. The rediscovery in mid-2006 of Shelley's long-lost Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things—a long, strident anti-monarchical and anti-war poem printed in 1811 in London by Crosby and Company as "by a gentleman of the University of Oxford" and dedicated to Harriet Westbrook—gives a new dimension to the expulsion, reinforcing Hogg's implication of political motives ("an affair of party"). Shelley was given the choice to be reinstated after his father intervened, on the condition that he would have to recant his avowed views. His refusal to do so led to a falling-out with his father.
Four months after being sent down from Oxford, on 28 August 1811, the 19-year-old Shelley eloped to Scotland with the 16-year-old Harriet Westbrook, a pupil at the same boarding school as Shelley's sisters, whom his father had forbidden him to see. Harriet Westbrook had been writing Shelley passionate letters threatening to kill herself because of her unhappiness at the school and at home. Shelley, heartbroken after the failure of his romance with his cousin, Harriet Grove, cut off from his mother and sisters, and convinced he had not long to live, impulsively decided to rescue Westbrook and make her his beneficiary. Westbrook's 28-year-old sister Eliza, to whom Harriet was very close, appears to have encouraged the young girl's infatuation with the future baronet. The Westbrooks pretended to disapprove but secretly encouraged the elopement. Sir Timothy Shelley, however, outraged that his son had married beneath him (Harriet's father, though prosperous, had kept a tavern), revoked Shelley's allowance and refused ever to receive the couple at Field Place. Harriet also insisted that her sister Eliza, whom Shelley detested, live with them. Shelley invited his friend Hogg to share his ménage but asked him to leave when Hogg made advances to Harriet. Shelley was also at this time increasingly involved in an intense platonic relationship with Elizabeth Hitchener, a 28-year-old unmarried schoolteacher of advanced views, with whom he had been corresponding. Hitchener, whom Shelley called the "sister of my soul" and "my second self", became his muse and confidante in the writing of his philosophical poem Queen Mab, a Utopian allegory.
During this period, Shelley travelled to Keswick in England's Lake District, where he visited the poet Robert Southey, under the mistaken impression that Southey was still a political radical. Southey, who had himself been expelled from the Westminster School for opposing flogging, was taken with Shelley and predicted great things for him as a poet. He also informed Shelley that William Godwin, author of Political Justice, which had greatly influenced him in his youth, and which Shelley also admired, was still alive. Shelley wrote to Godwin, offering himself as his devoted disciple and informing Godwin that he was "the son of a man of fortune in Sussex" and "heir by entail to an estate of 6,000 £ per an." Godwin, who supported a large family and was chronically penniless, immediately saw in Shelley a source of his financial salvation. He wrote asking for more particulars about Shelley's income and began advising him to reconcile with Sir Timothy. Meanwhile, Sir Timothy's patron, the Duke of Norfolk, a former Catholic who favoured Catholic Emancipation, was also vainly trying to reconcile Sir Timothy and his son, whose political career the Duke wished to encourage. A maternal uncle ultimately supplied money to pay Shelley's debts, but Shelley's relationship with the Duke may have influenced his decision to travel to Ireland. In Dublin, Shelley published his Address to the Irish People, priced at fivepence, "the lowest possible price" to "awaken in the minds of the Irish poor a knowledge of their real state, summarily pointing out the evils of that state and suggesting a rational means of remedy – Catholic Emancipation and a repeal of the Union Act" (the latter "the most successful engine that England ever wielded over the misery of fallen Ireland"). His activities earned him the unfavourable attention of the British government.
Shelley was increasingly unhappy in his marriage to Harriet and particularly resented the influence of her older sister Eliza, who discouraged Harriet from breastfeeding their baby daughter (Elizabeth Ianthe Shelley [1813–76]). Shelley accused Harriet of having married him for his money. Craving more intellectual female companionship, he began spending more time away from home, among other things, studying Italian with Cornelia Turner and visiting the home and bookshop of William Godwin. Eliza and Harriet moved back with their parents.
Shelley's mentor Godwin had three highly educated daughters, two of whom, Fanny Imlay and Claire Clairmont, were his adopted step-daughters. Godwin's first wife, the celebrated feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, had died shortly after giving birth to Godwin's biological daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, named after her mother. Fanny was the illegitimate daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and her lover, the diplomat speculator and writer, Gilbert Imlay. Claire was the illegitimate daughter of Godwin's much younger second wife, Mary Jane Clairmont Godwin, whom Shelley considered a vulgar woman—"not a proper person to form the mind of a young girl", he is supposed to have said, and Sir John Lethbridge. The brilliant Mary was being educated in Scotland when Shelley first became acquainted with the Godwin family. When she returned, Shelley fell madly in love with her, repeatedly threatening to commit suicide if she did not return his affections.
On 28 July 1814 Shelley abandoned Harriet, now pregnant with their son Charles (November 1814 – 1826) and (in imitation of the hero of one of Godwin's novels) he ran away to Switzerland with Mary, then 16, inviting her stepsister Claire Clairmont (also 16) along because she could speak French. The older sister Fanny was left behind, to her great dismay, for she, too, had fallen in love with Shelley. The three sailed to Europe, and made their way across France to Switzerland on foot, reading aloud from the works of Rousseau, Shakespeare, and Mary's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft (an account of their travels was subsequently published by the Shelleys).
After six weeks, homesick and destitute, the three young people returned to England. The enraged William Godwin refused to see them, though he still demanded money, to be given to him under another name, to avoid scandal. In late 1815, while living in a cottage in Bishopsgate, Surrey, with Mary and avoiding creditors, Shelley wrote Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude. It attracted little attention at the time, but has now come to be recognised as his first major achievement. At this point in his writing career, Shelley was deeply influenced by the poetry of Wordsworth.
In mid-1816 Shelley and Mary made a second trip to Switzerland. They were prompted to do this by Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont, who, in competition with her sister, had initiated a liaison with Lord Byron the previous April just before his self-exile on the continent. Byron's interest in her had waned, and Claire used the opportunity of introducing him to Mary and Shelley to act as bait to lure him to Geneva. The couple and Byron rented neighbouring houses on the shores of Lake Geneva. Regular conversation with Byron had an invigorating effect on Shelley's output of poetry. While on a boating tour the two took together, Shelley was inspired to write his Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, often considered his first significant production since Alastor. A tour of Chamonix in the French Alps inspired Mont Blanc, a poem in which Shelley claims to have pondered questions of historical inevitability (determinism) and the relationship between the human mind and external nature. Shelley also encouraged Byron to begin an epic poem on a contemporary subject, advice that resulted in Byron's composition of Don Juan. In 1817 Claire gave birth to a daughter by Byron, Alba, later renamed Allegra, whom Shelley offered to support, making provisions for her and for Claire in his will.
A suicide and a second marriage
After Shelley's and Mary's return to England, Fanny Imlay, Mary's half-sister and Claire's stepsister, despondent over her exclusion from the Shelley household and perhaps unhappy at being omitted from Shelley's will, travelled from Godwin's household in London to kill herself in Wales in early October. On 10 December 1816 the body of Shelley's estranged wife Harriet was found in an advanced state of pregnancy, drowned in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. Shelley had made generous provision for Harriet and their children in his will and had paid her a monthly allowance as had her father. It is thought that Harriet, who had left her children with her sister Eliza and had been living alone under the name of Harriet Smith, mistakenly believed herself to have been abandoned by her new lover, 36-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Maxwell, who had been deployed abroad, after a landlady refused to forward his letters to her. On 30 December 1816, barely three weeks after Harriet's body was recovered, Shelley and Mary Godwin were married. The marriage was intended partly to help secure Shelley's custody of his children by Harriet and partly to placate Godwin, who had coldly refused to speak to his daughter for two years, and who now received the couple. The courts, however, awarded custody of Shelley and Harriet's children to foster parents, on the grounds that Shelley was an atheist.
The Shelleys took up residence in the village of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where a friend of Percy's, Thomas Love Peacock, lived. Shelley took part in the literary circle that surrounded Leigh Hunt, and during this period he met John Keats. Shelley's major production during this time was Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City, a long narrative poem in which he attacked religion and featured a pair of incestuous lovers. It was hastily withdrawn after only a few copies were published. It was later edited and reissued as The Revolt of Islam in 1818. Shelley wrote two revolutionary political tracts under the nom de plume, "The Hermit of Marlow". On Boxing Day 1817, presumably prompted by travellers' reports of Belzoni's success (where the French had failed) in removing the 'half sunk and shattered visage' of the so-called 'Young Memnon' from the Ramesseum at Thebes, Shelley and his friend Horace Smith began a poem each about the Memnon or 'Ozymandias,' Diodorus's 'King of Kings', who in an inscription on the base of his statue challenged all comers to 'surpass my works'. Within four months of the publication of Ozymandias (or Rameses II) his seven-and-a-quarter ton bust arrived in London, just too late for Shelley to have seen it.
Early in 1818 the Shelleys and Claire left England to take Claire's daughter, Allegra, to her father Byron, who had taken up residence in Venice. Contact with the older and more established poet encouraged Shelley to write once again. During the latter part of the year, he wrote Julian and Maddalo, a lightly disguised rendering of his boat trips and conversations with Byron in Venice, finishing with a visit to a madhouse. This poem marked the appearance of Shelley's "urbane style". He then began the long verse drama Prometheus Unbound, a re-writing of the lost play by the ancient Greek poet Aeschylus, which features talking mountains and a petulant spirit who overthrows Jupiter. Tragedy struck, however, first in 1818 when Shelley's infant daughter Clara Everina died during yet another household move, and then in 1819 when his son Will died of fever (most likely malaria) in Rome.
A baby girl, Elena Adelaide Shelley, was born on 27 December 1818 in Naples, Italy, and registered there as the daughter of Shelley and a woman named "Marina Padurin". However, the identity of the mother is an unsolved mystery. Some scholars speculate that her true mother was actually Claire Clairmont or Elise Foggi, a nursemaid for the Shelley family. Other scholars postulate that she was a foundling Shelley adopted in hopes of distracting Mary after the deaths of Clara and William. Shelley referred to Elena in letters as his "Neapolitan ward". However, Elena was placed with foster parents a few days after her birth and the Shelley family moved on to yet another Italian city, leaving her behind. Elena died seventeen months later, on 10 June 1820.
The Shelleys moved between various Italian cities during these years; in later 1818 they were living in Florence, in a pensione on the Via Valfonda. This street now runs alongside Florence's railway station, and the building now on the site, the original having been destroyed in World War II, carries a plaque recording the poet's stay. Here they received two visitors, a Miss Sophia Stacey and her much older travelling companion, Miss Corbet Parry-Jones (to be described by Mary as "an ignorant little Welshwoman"). Sophia had for three years in her youth been ward of the poet's aunt and uncle. The pair moved into the same pensione and stayed for about two months. During this period Mary gave birth to another son; Sophia is credited with suggesting that he be named after the city of his birth, so he became Percy Florence Shelley, later Sir Percy. Shelley also wrote his "Ode to Sophia Stacey" during this time. They then moved to Pisa, largely at the suggestion of its resident Margaret King, who, as a former pupil of Mary Wollstonecraft, took a maternal interest in the younger Mary and her companions. This "no nonsense grande dame" and her common-law husband George William Tighe inspired the poet with "a new-found sense of radicalism". Tighe was an agricultural theorist, and provided the younger man with a great deal of material on chemistry, biology and statistics.
Shelley completed Prometheus Unbound in Rome, and he spent mid-1819 writing a tragedy, The Cenci, in Leghorn (Livorno). In this year, prompted among other causes by the Peterloo Massacre, he wrote his best-known political poems: The Masque of Anarchy and Men of England. These were probably his best-remembered works during the 19th century. Around this time period, he wrote the essay The Philosophical View of Reform, which was his most thorough exposition of his political views to that date.
In 1820, hearing of John Keats's illness from a friend, Shelley wrote him a letter inviting him to join him at his residence at Pisa. Keats replied with hopes of seeing him, but instead, arrangements were made for Keats to travel to Rome with the artist Joseph Severn. Inspired by the death of Keats, in 1821 Shelley wrote the elegy Adonais.
In 1821 Shelley met Edward Ellerker Williams, a British naval officer, and his wife Jane Williams. Shelley developed a very strong affection towards Jane and addressed a number of poems to her. In the poems addressed to Jane, such as With a Guitar, To Jane and One Word is Too Often Profaned, he elevates her to an exalted position worthy of worship.
In 1822 Shelley arranged for Leigh Hunt, the British poet and editor who had been one of his chief supporters in England, to come to Italy with his family. He meant for the three of them—himself, Byron and Hunt—to create a journal, which would be called The Liberal. With Hunt as editor, their controversial writings would be disseminated, and the journal would act as a counter-blast to conservative periodicals such as Blackwood's Magazine and The Quarterly Review.
Leigh Hunt's son, the editor Thornton Leigh Hunt, was later asked by John Bedford Leno whether he preferred Shelley or Byron as a man. He replied:
On one occasion I had to fetch or take to Byron some copy for the paper which my father, himself and Shelley, jointly conducted. I found him seated on a lounge feasting himself from a drum of figs. He asked me if I would like a fig. Now, in that, Leno, consists the difference, Shelley would have handed me the drum and allowed me to help myself.
On 8 July 1822, less than a month before his thirtieth birthday, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm on the Gulf of Spezia while returning from Leghorn (Livorno) to Lerici in his sailing boat, the Don Juan. He was returning from having set up The Liberal with the newly arrived Leigh Hunt. The name Don Juan, a compliment to Byron, was chosen by Edward John Trelawny, a member of the Shelley–Byron Pisan circle. However, according to Mary Shelley's testimony, Shelley changed it to Ariel, which annoyed Byron, who forced the painting of the words "Don Juan" on the mainsail. The vessel, an open boat, was custom-built in Genoa for Shelley. It did not capsize but sank; Mary Shelley declared in her "Note on Poems of 1822" (1839) that the design had a defect and that the boat was never seaworthy. In fact the Don Juan was seaworthy; the sinking was due to a severe storm and poor seamanship of the three men on board.
Some believed his death was not accidental, that Shelley was depressed and wanted to die; others suggested he simply did not know how to navigate. More fantastical theories, including the possibility of pirates mistaking the boat for Byron's, also circulated. There is a small amount of material, though scattered and contradictory, suggesting that Shelley may have been murdered for political reasons: previously, at Plas Tan-Yr-Allt, the Regency house he rented at Tremadog, near Porthmadog, north-west Wales, from 1812 to 1813, he had allegedly been surprised and attacked during the night by a man who may have been, according to some later writers, an intelligence agent. Shelley, who was in financial difficulty, left forthwith leaving rent unpaid and without contributing to the fund to support the house owner, William Madocks; this may provide another, more plausible explanation for this story.
Two other Englishmen were with Shelley on the boat. One was a retired naval officer, Edward Ellerker Williams; the other was a boatboy, Charles Vivien. The boat was found ten miles (16 km) offshore, and it was suggested that one side of the boat had been rammed and staved in by a much stronger vessel. However, the liferaft was unused and still attached to the boat. The bodies were found completely clothed, including boots.
In his Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron, Trelawny noted that the shirt in which Williams's body was clad was "partly drawn over the head, as if the wearer had been in the act of taking it off [...] and [he was missing] one boot, indicating also that he had attempted to strip." Trelawny also relates a supposed deathbed confession by an Italian fisherman who claimed to have rammed Shelley's boat to rob him, a plan confounded by the rapid sinking of the vessel.
Shelley's body was washed ashore and later, in keeping with quarantine regulations, was cremated on the beach near Viareggio. In Shelley's pocket was a small book of Keats' poetry. Upon hearing this, Byron (never one to give compliments) said of Shelley: "I never met a man who wasn't a beast in comparison to him" . The day after the news of his death reached England, the Tory newspaper The Courier printed: "Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned; now he knows whether there is God or no." A reclining statue of Shelley's body, depicted as washed up on the shore, created by sculptor Edward Onslow Ford at the behest of Shelley's daughter-in-law, Jane, Lady Shelley, is the centrepiece of the Shelley Memorial at University College, Oxford. An 1889 painting by Louis Édouard Fournier, The Funeral of Shelley (also known as The Cremation of Shelley), contains inaccuracies. In pre-Victorian times it was English custom that women would not attend funerals for health reasons. Mary Shelley did not attend but was featured in the painting, kneeling at the left-hand side. Leigh Hunt stayed in the carriage during the ceremony but is also pictured. Also, Trelawny, in his account of the recovery of Shelley's body, records that "the face and hands, and parts of the body not protected by the dress, were fleshless," and by the time that the party returned to the beach for the cremation, the body was even further decomposed. In his graphic account of the cremation, he writes of Byron being unable to face the scene, and withdrawing to the beach.
Shelley's ashes were interred in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, near an ancient pyramid in the city walls. His grave bears the Latin inscription, Cor Cordium (Heart of Hearts), and, in reference to his death at sea, a few lines of "Ariel's Song" from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange." The grave site is the second in the cemetery. Some weeks after Shelley's ashes had been buried, Trelawny had come to Rome, had not liked his friend's position among a number of other graves, and had purchased what seemed to him a better plot near the old wall. The ashes were exhumed and moved to their present location. Trelawny had purchased the adjacent plot, and over sixty years later his remains were placed there.
A memorial was eventually created for Shelley at the Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey, along with his old friends Lord Byron and John Keats.
Shelley's widow Mary bought a cliff-top home at Boscombe, Bournemouth, in 1851. She intended to live there with her son, Percy, and his wife Jane, and had the remains of her own parents moved from their London burial place at St Pancras Old Church to an underground mausoleum in the town. The property is now known as Shelley Manor. When Lady Jane Shelley was to be buried in the family vault, it was discovered that in her copy of Adonaïs was an envelope containing ashes, which she had identified as belonging to her father-in-law. The family had preserved the story that when Shelley's body had been burned, his friend Edward Trelawny had snatched the whole heart from the pyre. These same accounts claim that the heart had been buried with Shelley's son, Percy. All accounts agree, however, that the remains now lie in the vault in the churchyard of St Peter's Church, Bournemouth.
For several years in the 20th century some of Trelawny's collection of Shelley ephemera, including a painting of Shelley as a child, a jacket, and a lock of his hair, were on display in "The Shelley Rooms", a small museum at Shelley Manor. When the museum finally closed in 2001, these items were returned to Lord Abinger, who descends from a niece of Lady Jane Shelley.
Henry Shelley became father to younger Henry Shelley. This younger Henry had at least three sons. The youngest of them, Richard Shelley was born in 1583, and baptized 17 November 1583 in Warminghurst, Sussex, England. Richard later married on 3 February 1601 in Itchingfield to Jonne (aka Joane) Feste/Feest/Fuste, daughter of John Feest/Fuste from Itchingfield, near Horsham, West Sussex. Their grandson, John Shelley of Fen Place, Turners Hill, West Sussex, was married himself to Helen Bysshe, daughter of Roger Bysshe. Their son Timothy Shelley of Fen Place (born c. 1700) married widow Johanna Plum from New York City. Timothy and Johanna were the great-grandparents of Percy.
|Ancestors of Percy Bysshe Shelley|