Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Percy Bysshe Shelley

Birthplace: Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Lerici, Kingdom of Sardinia (now Italy)
Immediate Family:

Son of Timothy Shelley, Sir and Elizabeth Shelley
Husband of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Harriet Shelley
Father of Clara Everina Shelley; Sir Percy Florence Shelley, 3rd Baronet; Elena Adelaide Shelley; Allegra W. Shelley; Will Eveline Shelley and 4 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.

His first wife was Harriet Westbrook, with whom he eloped to Scotland and married in 1811 - they had two children.

1813 He left Harriet - pregnant - for the novelist Mary Shelley. Harriet later committed suicide by drowning and PBS narried Mary. In 1817 27 March the Chancery Court denied PBS custody of his children (by Harriet) - Ianthe and Charles.

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 (Ianthe*) 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.

"The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Volume 2" By Percy Bysshe Shelley - there is a notation on Google Books which refers to the "Esdaile Notebook", a collection of poems by Shelley which passed down from his first wife Harriet to her daughter Ianthe continued to be passed on through the Esdaile family until 1962 when it was sold by auction. This collection was purportedly meant to be a copy of his poems, in case the originals went astray, and were written casually without punctuation. However, he did write in the Notebook two sonnets - one to Harriet, and one to Ianthe - both finished with punctuation. Ianthe's daughter - Shelley's granddaughter - Emily Esdaile married Plowden Weston, owner of vast rice plantations in South Carolina, USA, who became Lt. Governor of the State in the last years before his death at 44 years old from TB. Emily produced exquisite detailed drawings and watercolors of their plantation homes, churches, flora and fauna. After her husband died she returned to England and is buried at Cothelstone, nr Taunton, Somerset, England.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley's Timeline

August 4, 1792
Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex, United Kingdom
August 28, 1811
Age 19
June 28, 1813
Age 20
London, Middlesex, England
Age 21
Age 23
September 2, 1817
Age 25
Age 25
Age 25
Naples, Province of Naples, Campania, Italy
November 12, 1819
Age 27
Age 26