Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) MP

‹ Back to Shelley surname

Is your surname Shelley?

Research the Shelley family

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Sussex, England
Death: Died in Italy
Occupation: poet
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:

About Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley ( 4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley was his second wife.

He is most famous for such classic anthology verse works as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy, which are among the most popular and critically acclaimed poems in the English language. His major works, however, are long visionary poems which included Queen Mab (later reworked as The Daemon of the World), Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonaïs, and the unfinished work The Triumph of Life.

The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820) were dramatic plays in five and four acts respectively. Although he has typically been figured as a "reluctant dramatist" he was passionate about the theatre, and his plays continue to be performed today. He wrote the Gothic novels Zastrozzi (1810) and St. Irvyne (1811) and the short prose works "The Assassins" (1814), "The Coliseum" (1817) and "Una Favola" (1819). In 2008, he was credited as the co-author of the novel Frankenstein (1818) in a new edition by the Bodleian Library in Oxford and Random House in the U.S. entitled The Original Frankenstein edited by Charles E. Robinson.

Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism[citation needed], combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-denigrated figure during his life and afterward. Mark Twain took particular aim at Shelley in In Defense of Harriet Shelley, where he lambasted Shelley for abandoning his pregnant wife and child to run off with the 16 year old Mary Godwin. Shelley never lived to see the extent of his success and influence; although some of his works were published, they were often suppressed upon publication.

He became an idol of the next three or even four generations of poets, including the important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets. He was admired by Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, William Butler Yeats, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's passive resistance were apparently influenced and inspired by Shelley's nonviolence in protest and political action, although Gandhi does not include him in his list of mentors.

view all 22

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Timeline

1792
August 4, 1792
Sussex, England
1811
August 28, 1811
Age 19
1813
1813
Age 20
1813
Age 20
1814
November 1814
Age 22
1814
Age 21
1815
1815
Age 22
1816
1816
Age 23
1818
December 27, 1818
Age 26
Naples, Province of Naples, Campania, Italy
1818
Age 25