Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Percy Bysshe Shelley

Birthplace: Sussex, England
Death: Died in Sardinia, Italy
Immediate Family:

Son of Timothy Shelley, Sir and Elizabeth Shelley
Husband of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Claire Byron and Harriet Shelley
Father of Sir Percy Florence Shelley, 3rd Baronet; Elena Adelaide Shelley; Clara Eveline Shelley; Allegra W. Shelley; Will Eveline Shelley and 5 others

Occupation: poet
Managed by: Private User
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.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley's Timeline

August 4, 1792
Sussex, England
August 28, 1811
Age 19
Age 20
Age 21
Age 22
Age 23
Age 25
Naples, Province of Naples, Campania, Italy
Age 25
November 12, 1819
Age 27
Age 26