Biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

English poet, born at Field Place (Sussex) in 1792 and died in 1822. Eldest son of a conventional and distinguished family, he/she was educated at Eton and later at University College, Oxford. In childhood he/she revealed an eccentric and rebellious, character that adolescence was reflected in the composition of romances of terror (Zastrozzi, 1810), as well as the realization of magico-cientificos experiments; pursued by unrealistic images and harassed by the outside world, Shelley felt the need to find an intellectual order that resist pressure from both worlds, finding his salvation on the revolutionary philosophy of the moment: paradoxically to the young Shelley attracted you, at the same time, demons and vampires emanating from his imagination and the world of the mathematician Condorcet or rationalist Godwin.

Their first readings were, mostly, the classical English poets, along with the sort of fantasy literature that was able to give. At Oxford, where he/she began studies of philosophy and moral sciences, joined the revolutionary rationalist current, whose sources, of French origin, had been performed in England by William Godwin, advocate an anarchism philosophical which led to a crusade to Shelley and Hogg against the society and organized religion; so Shelley, which distinguished itself from other students for his extravagant way of behaving and dressing, was expelled in may 1811, but this was not the reason for the expulsion, but put into circulation a pamphlet written in collaboration with his friend Hogg, titled The Necessity of Atheism (atheism need), which exposed their radical stances on politics and religion.

While Shelley was against the marriage, as well as the monarchy and religion, in London is you fell in love with Harriet Westbrook, sixteen-year-old, and the couple escaped to Scotland to get married in Edinburgh in August 1811. They came years of nomadic existence in which the poet devoted to discuss in public platforms in Dublin and published Am Adress to Irish People (1812) and Proposals, for the reform of the associations. Many of their ideas, both political and poetic, are expressed in Queen Mab (1813). In the year 1814 his marriage broke, partly because of the immaturity of the couple, of young age, partly because Shelley did not believe in monogamy and intellectual differences with his wife became unsupportable; not even the existence of two children, fruit of her marriage, or the mediation of Peacock, avoided the rupture. Shelley, after several scenes of suicide by Harriet, escaped outside the country with Mary Godwin (who was sixteen years old); accompanied this, Claire Clairmont, stepsister of fifteen years, creating a triangular relationship that remained during the following eight years. The Assasins (1814), novel which did not end, reflects his travels by the France of the postwar era, Switzerland and Germany, as well as their joint daily History of a Six weeks Tour (1817). The couple returned to London, where Shelley wrote Alastor (1816). The summer of 1816 went it in Lake Geneva, with Byron, and Shelley composed in this beautiful place two philosophical poems in which the influence of William Wordsworth is quite dormant: The Hymn to intellectual Beauty, mostly about his childhood, and Mont Blanc, a meditation on the nature of power in a universe without God. In November of the same year the suicide of Harriet in the serpentine in Hyde Park (drowned), made it possible that Shelley casara is after Mary Godwin, in addition to filing a court case to get custody of their two children, if we lost and that it affected him deeply as can be deduced from fragments of his works as Invocations to Misery and To the Lord Chancellor. Despite this experience, his friendship with Leigh Hunt, Keats, Hazlitt and other characters related to the liberal circle of the weekly publication The Examiner, directed by Hunt, who gave these option to publish articles, seemed to shake, and Peacock, and close friend of the couple, portrayed Shelley in his Nightmare Abbey.

In 1817, settled in Great Marlow, where Shelley wrote his controversial pamphlets Hermit of Marlow, as well as Laon and Cythna, in which the predominant slogan during its composition was calm, and published with alterations to avoid that it was forbidden, with the title of The Revolt of Islam in 1818.

The poet, sick, debt-ridden, and sentenced to banishment by the English society, decided to move his residence to Italy in the spring of 1818: first established in Luca, where the Symposium of Plato, translated and wrote a daring and bold essay On the Manners of the Ancient Greeks; later in Venice and this, instead of composition of Julian and Maddalo. But his family situation was complicated more and more, his daughter Clara had died in Venice, his favourite son, William, died in Rome, and Mary, undone, suffering a nervous depression. So in search of peace, the family settled in Tuscany, first on the outskirts of Livorno and Pisa, a city that became his residence, more or less permanent, until the year 1822. The period framed between 1819 and 1820, summer was magnificent for the literary production of Shelley ended Prometeus Unbound and wrote The Mask of Anarchy, Ode to the West Wind, Peter Bell the Third, as well as Odes To Liberty and To Naples, the letter to MarĂ­a Gisborne and The Witch of Atlas. The majority of these works were inspired by the news about political developments, which are behind deYoung Parson Richards, Song to the Men of England, and Sonnet: England 1819. At the same time also composed several exclusively lyrical works, which include: To a Skylark and The Cloud, both of a surprising metrical virtuosity, as well as end The Cenci. The quiet period in Pisa (1820-1821) resulted in various creations in prose: A Philosophical View of Reform (1820), Essay on the Devil, and Defence of Poetry (1821). It was also the time in Shelley composed his most delicate and suggestive short poems from a visual approach: The Two Spirits, To the Moon, The Aziola, and Evening: Ponte al Mare, Pisa. But again the death made appearance, this time the deceased was his friend and also poet Keats, who died at an early age in the city of Rome; for it he/she wrote Adonis in 1821, year in which he/she captured his Platonic romance with Emilia Viviani, an heiress of seventeen years, in its Epipsychidion.

Byron moved beside his friend Shelley in the winter of 1821, and quickly a group arremolinĂ³ around them, it was e. J. Trelawny, Edwards and Jane Williams and occasionally Hunt. In 1822, the latest drama in verse composed by Shelley, Hellas, was inspired by the Greek independence.

In the months prior to his death, in April, the poet moved to the Bay of Lerici, where he/she began to write The Triumph of Life and composed several short poems to Jane Williams. In August 1822, death came out to meet while Shelley and Williams sailed in the Ariel to Spezia; they were returning from visit to Byron and Hunt in Livorno, when a storm surprised them, causing the boat to zozobrara and both friends might perish. Days later appeared the corpses, and Byron, Hunt, and Trelawney in a mixture of classical and measure health evocation, burned the bodies of their two friends on the beach.


While the ideals that joined to Shelley, Byron and Keats were the same, rebellion against society and morality set in the England of his time (Shelley and Byron), attraction to the South of Europe (Shelley and Keats die at an early age in Italy, and Byron in Greece), and his love of Greece and the Greek myths, Shelley stands out among its peers because unlike Byronwhose poetry takes the form of everyday experiences that alter your way of thinking, their ideas come from their own mental processes, the study, visions of the future or dreams about the past, they belong to his inner world. His poetry is fed from the previous literature, philosophy and science; His prose shows not only a great capacity for learning, but also a large force of argument and exposure; his letters reveal, mostly enough intelligence doctrine.

It could be said that Shelley had lived isolated from the world that surrounded him, and his violent reactions, both political, social, and personal, corresponding in small measure to topics that were inspired.

The philosophy involved in Shelley acquired source that becomes part of your own being. Thus, in Queen Mab (1813), you can see godwiana analyser of the preceding history ideology, as well as the influence of the ideas of Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Holbach. The poem consists of 2200 verses divided in nine cantos, in which Mab, Queen of the fairies, visit in a dream the young and lovely Ianthe, and his chariot of fire, and through an interstellar travel shows you the history of the world, its current state and the secrets of the future. The causes of the deplorable state of the world are mainly the Church, the monarchy, and mercantilism. This poem enjoyed great importance among the radical circles of the working classes, but Shelley, who had only printed a few copies so they were among his intimate, always tried to prevent its publication.

Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude, 1816, can be considered the first important work of the poet. It comprises 700 verses in which the central theme is loneliness; It is an allegory of the fate of the poet, than to be immersed in the world of high thoughts and visions of beauty when you are looking for in the real world the translation of their dreams, fails to find it, before it despairs and dies. Shelley expressed through this symbolic poem the dual character of their personal relationships, face and your feeling of love cross: delicacy and sensitivity on the one hand, on the other hand his despair when he/she realizes that was not the ideal seeking.

The theme of incest attracted the romantics, Byron suspected that it maintained relations with his sister, and Shelley is not relegated, at least of trying this theme, in The Revolt of Islam (1817). The work consists of twelve songs (some 5000 verses). The original version of the poem presented two lovers who were brothers; However, to avoid potential problems eliminated the kinship of Cinthna and Laon, with which the story is reduced to the issue of injustice, and revolution. In this poem is one of the most characteristic of Shelley concepts: either individual love turns into love for humanity, or to love humanity is concentrated and transferred to individual love.

Shelley wrote Julian and Maddalo, after a visit to Byron in Venice in 1818; It is actually a poetic conversation between the author and Byron focused on the possibilities of man to orient themselves and be done in life, which followed the story of a visit to a mental hospital, a place where a man who had lost the reason because a love failure tells his story.

Prometeus Unbound (1820), which consists of 2711 verses, is possibly the best work of the poet. Wrapped in the Greek mythological world, it is based on the legend of the divine fire robador. The drama begins when Prometheus, moved by a sublime love of humanity enslaved by the gods, is tied to the rock and subjected to perpetual torture, for standing up to the powerful Jupiter. Prometheus-side are the Earth, and Asia. Timely Demogorgon, which represents the essence of the world and the eternal love power, dethrones Jupiter, and Hercules, which symbolizes strength, frees Prometheus. So as soon as love dominate the Earth, and everything that symbolizes power has disappeared, the man will feel completely free and happy, States seeking Shelley essentially in their way of looking at life and that would represent the culmination for humanity, because once the injustice does not exist, there should not be unhappiness.