Percy Bysshe Shelley

Easton Press Percy Bysshe Shelley books

The Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley - Library of Famous Editions - 1974
Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley - Library of Great Poetry - 1995
Poetry - Great British Poetry (part of 6 volume set) - 2010

Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley, born on August 4, 1792, in Horsham, Sussex, England, was a poet whose radical ideas and impassioned verse left an indelible mark on the landscape of English literature. From an early age, Shelley exhibited a rebellious spirit and a profound sense of empathy for the oppressed and marginalized, themes that would recur throughout his life and work. Shelley's education was unconventional, marked by a voracious appetite for reading and a deep-seated skepticism of authority. He attended Eton College, where he rebelled against the rigid discipline of the school and developed a reputation as a nonconformist. It was during his time at Oxford University that Shelley first began to explore radical political ideas, leading to his expulsion for distributing pamphlets advocating for atheism.

Despite facing ostracism from polite society, Shelley's exile from Oxford marked the beginning of his literary career. He published his first major poem, Queen Mab, in 1813, which espoused his visionary ideals of social reform and universal love. However, it was not until the publication of The Necessity of Atheism in 1811 that Shelley gained widespread notoriety, leading to his disinheritance by his aristocratic family. Shelley's poetry is characterized by its lyricism, idealism, and fervent belief in the power of imagination to effect change. His major works include Prometheus Unbound, a lyrical drama that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over tyranny, and Adonais, a elegy mourning the death of his friend John Keats. Shelley's poetry often grapples with themes of freedom, justice, and the pursuit of truth, earning him a reputation as one of the greatest lyric poets of the Romantic era.

In addition to his literary pursuits, Shelley was deeply involved in the political upheavals of his time. He was an outspoken advocate for social justice, championing causes such as universal suffrage, workers' rights, and the abolition of slavery. His political activism often brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he was forced to flee England for Italy in 1818, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Tragically, Percy Bysshe Shelley's life was cut short when he drowned in a boating accident off the coast of Italy on July 8, 1822, at the age of 29. Despite his untimely death, Shelley's poetry continues to inspire readers around the world with its passionate advocacy for liberty, equality, and the inherent dignity of the human spirit. Percy Bysshe Shelley's legacy as a revolutionary poet and iconoclast of Romanticism endures as a testament to the power of literature to challenge, provoke, and inspire change.

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