Percy Bysshe Shelley
Shelley was born in 1792, in an aristocratic family. When he was a young boy he was an extremely sensitive person. He studied at Eton. He didn’t have a very happy period there because the other students called him “the mad Shelley”.
At Oxford he started reading gothic novels that were very popular in that period. He agreed with Godwin about his radical view of society. In 1810 he was expelled from Oxford university because he had written a pamphlet called “The necessity of atheism” and his family decided didn’t gave him any money anymore. So he went to London where he met his sister’s friend Harriet Westbrook and he fall in love with her. They got married in Scotland, but after three years Shelley left her alone with their daughter.
In 1813 he met Godwin and at his home he met Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the daughter of Godwin. Shelley fall in love with her and they went to France together and then to Switzerland. They had the same believes, the same interests. Then they came back to England and they had a child. Soon after they went to Switzerland and there Shelley received a terrible piece of new: his first wife committed suicide and this was a shock for him also because they had two children. He tried to assume the custody of these children but he didn’t see them anymore. Then he got married with Mary and they had another child, a girl. After he settled with his family to Italy, in Pisa, where his second child died, so they moved to Liguria. During this period Shelley wrote much of his best works as “Ode to the west wind”, “A defence of poetry”, “Prometheus unbound” that was a lyrical drama, “Adonais” that was an elegy written after the death of Keats.
Shelley died in 1822.
Themes of his poetry:
• Love and freedom: Shelley was a great admirer of Platon and he shared with him the complete separation of world of senses and supersensitive world. Also for him love should be free from all the superstitions;
• Nature: he believed that nature was a living being as man and that is endowed with a soul, so Shelley had a pantheistic vision.