Shelley's relationship with Byron was deeply paradoxical. .. jealousy of my Lord Byron into his loan to you' (Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, ii. Lord Byron's Correspondence Chiefly with Lady Melbourne, Mr Hobhouse, The Hon. Douglas May 27th Byron and Percy Shelley meet at Geneva. June 22nd to For Frankenstein's relation to Manfred, see Cochran (ed.). In the summer of Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin travelled to Switzerland in order to meet Lord Byron. The meeting had been engineered by.
Percy Bysshe Shelley - Wikipedia
Even better, its pace and sweep induces you to investigate nooks and crannies into which Hay is able to shine a torch only briefly, to take down from your shelves books you haven't touched in two decades. In my own case, this year's holiday reading is going to look mighty strange by the pool.
It is Hay's contention — though it is somewhat counter-intuitive, as she readily admits — that Shelley, Keats and Byron were in some sense built by their friendships. Far from being the solitaries of popular mythology, their associations with one another, sometimes ecstatically happy, sometimes painfully fraught, were vitally important, to their daily lives and to their work. So she weaves their stories into a single narrative, a long and incestuous tale that begins with Leigh Hunt, the journalist and radical, holding court in his prison cell he was incarcerated for two years in Surrey jail, Horsemonger Lane, for libelling the Prince Regent and ends with the premature passing of the generation he so generously championed in his journals Hunt, of course, outlived them all.
This approach is challenging, and occasionally throws an odd emphasis on things. The death of Keats, for instance, is dispatched in a single paragraph, and long before the book's end. But in the case of more minor characters, and particularly the women, it works a treat; it is a kind of levelling, one that restores them to their rightful place at the table.
If the book has a presiding spirit, it is, perhaps, Mary Wollstonecraft, for all that she is already cold in her grave when Young Romantics begins. Her terrifying for the times unconventionality, her feminism, and her suicidal impulses lived on in both her daughters, Fanny Imlay and Mary Godwin later Mary Shelleyand, more strikingly, in their stepsister, Claire Clairmont Claire's mother married Wollstonecraft's widower, William Godwin, after Mary's early death ; and it is one of these three, Claire, whose near constant presence in the narrative comes to seem to the reader most significant.
Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives by Daisy Hay
Sometimes, Claire appears to be mad, even monstrous; you feel, as Mary often did, that you would like to escape her neediness and her strange reinventions. But at others, she is sympathetic, being more sinned against than sinning, yet another casual victim of the Shelleys, whose self-absorption could be devastating.
Either way, without her, the story would have been very different. Claire had a brief and unhappy affair with Byron, a liaison she conjured out of thin air, having conceived a delirious crush on him, one based solely on her reading of his poetry; later, they had a daughter, Allegra, who died young. Shelley also encouraged Byron to begin an epic poem on a contemporary subject, advice that resulted in Byron's composition of Don Juan.
In Claire gave birth to a daughter by Byron, Alba, later renamed Allegrawhom Shelley offered to support, making provisions for her and for Claire in his will. A suicide and a second marriage[ edit ] After Shelley's and Mary's return to England, Fanny ImlayMary's half-sister and Claire's stepsister, despondent over her exclusion from the Shelley household and perhaps unhappy at being omitted from Shelley's will, travelled from Godwin's household in London to kill herself in Wales in early October.
Shelley had made generous provision for Harriet and their children in his will and had paid her a monthly allowance as had her father.
It is thought that Harriet, who had left her children with her sister Eliza and had been living alone under the name of Harriet Smith, mistakenly believed herself to have been abandoned by her new lover, year-old Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Maxwell, who had been deployed abroad, after a landlady refused to forward his letters to her. The marriage was intended partly to help secure Shelley's custody of his children by Harriet and partly to placate Godwin, who had coldly refused to speak to his daughter for two years, and who now received the couple.
The courts, however, awarded custody of Shelley and Harriet's children to foster parents, on the grounds that Shelley was an atheist. Shelley took part in the literary circle that surrounded Leigh Huntand during this period he met John Keats. Shelley's major production during this time was Laon and Cythna ; or, The Revolution of the Golden City, a long narrative poem in which he attacked religion and featured a pair of incestuous lovers. It was hastily withdrawn after only a few copies were published.
It was later edited and reissued as The Revolt of Islam in Shelley wrote two revolutionary political tracts under the nom de plume"The Hermit of Marlow". On Boxing Daypresumably prompted by travellers' reports of Belzoni 's success where the French had failed in removing the 'half sunk and shattered visage' of the so-called ' Young Memnon ' from the Ramesseum at ThebesShelley and his friend Horace Smith began a poem each about the Memnon or 'Ozymandias,' Diodorus 's 'King of Kings', who in an inscription on the base of his statue challenged all comers to 'surpass my works'.
During the latter part of the year, he wrote Julian and Maddaloa lightly disguised rendering of his boat trips and conversations with Byron in Venice, finishing with a visit to a madhouse.
This poem marked the appearance of Shelley's "urbane style". He then began the long verse drama Prometheus Unbounda re-writing of the lost play by the ancient Greek poet Aeschyluswhich features talking mountains and a petulant spirit who overthrows Jupiter. Tragedy struck, however, first in when Shelley's infant daughter Clara Everina died during yet another household move, and then in when his son Will died of fever most likely malaria in Rome.
A baby girl, Elena Adelaide Shelley, was born on 27 December in NaplesItaly, and registered there as the daughter of Shelley and a woman named "Marina Padurin". However, the identity of the mother is an unsolved mystery. Some scholars speculate that her true mother was actually Claire Clairmont or Elise Foggi, a nursemaid for the Shelley family.
Other scholars postulate that she was a foundling Shelley adopted in hopes of distracting Mary after the death of Clara. However, Elena was placed with foster parents a few days after her birth and the Shelley family moved on to yet another Italian city, leaving her behind. Reni or Sirani 's portrait of Beatrice Cenciwhich captivated Shelley and inspired his verse play on her parricide  The Shelleys moved between various Italian cities during these years; in later they were living in Florencein a pensione on the Via Valfonda.
Here they received two visitors, a Miss Sophia Stacey and her much older travelling companion, Miss Corbet Parry-Jones to be described by Mary as "an ignorant little Welshwoman". Sophia had for three years in her youth been ward of the poet's aunt and uncle.
The pair moved into the same pensione and stayed for about two months. During this period Mary gave birth to another son; Sophia is credited with suggesting that he be named after the city of his birth, so he became Percy Florence Shelleylater Sir Percy. Shelley also wrote his "Ode to Sophia Stacey" during this time.
They then moved to Pisa, largely at the suggestion of its resident Margaret Kingwho, as a former pupil of Mary Wollstonecraft, took a maternal interest in the younger Mary and her companions. This "no nonsense grande dame"  and her common-law husband George William Tighe inspired the poet with "a new-found sense of radicalism".LIT3056: Byron and Shelley
Tighe was an agricultural theorist, and provided the younger man with a great deal of material on chemistry, biology and statistics. In this year, prompted among other causes by the Peterloo Massacrehe wrote his best-known political poems: The Masque of Anarchy and Men of England.
Around this time period, he wrote the essay The Philosophical View of Reform, which was his most thorough exposition of his political views to that date. Inhearing of John Keats 's illness from a friend, Shelley wrote him a letter inviting him to join him at his residence at Pisa. Keats replied with hopes of seeing him, but instead, arrangements were made for Keats to travel to Rome with the artist Joseph Severn.
Inspired by the death of Keats, in Shelley wrote the elegy Adonais. Shelley developed a very strong affection towards Jane and addressed a number of poems to her. In Shelley arranged for Leigh Hunt, the British poet and editor who had been one of his chief supporters in England, to come to Italy with his family. He meant for the three of them—himself, Byron and Hunt—to create a journal, which would be called The Liberal.
With Hunt as editor, their controversial writings would be disseminated, and the journal would act as a counter-blast to conservative periodicals such as Blackwood's Magazine and The Quarterly Review. On one occasion I had to fetch or take to Byron some copy for the paper which my father, himself and Shelley, jointly conducted. What he objected to particularly, in addition to those weaknesses mentioned here, was Byron's hopelessness, his sense of the futility of all human endeavour.
Byron knew it as the name that the year-old English mystic Joanna Southcote had fixed on for the new messiah to whom, inshe had announced she would shortly be giving birth she disappointed her followers by dying three months after the expected birth date.
Mary Shelley - Wikipedia
Yet that Shelley was Shiloh for Byron, or that he dosed him with Wordsworth, did not in any way diminish Byron's liking for him. Some relationships are based on congruity: There was a brief period when Shelley strongly influenced Byron's thinking, but the more contact they had with each other, the more important differences between them emerged.
The catalyst for defining them was Claire Clairmont, and the outcome of Byron's affair with her. By July it was clear that she was pregnant, and in January she gave birth to a baby who was almost certainly Byron's daughter.
It had been agreed that this child should be brought up by Byron, because its prospects in life would then be so much brighter; and that Claire should make periodic visits, perhaps in the guise of an aunt. But the implementation of this arrangement proved difficult and contentious, and it would always provide a troubled background to the friendship between Byron and Shelley. After the period in Switzerland, the poets were together on three more occasions.
Shelley made an extended visit to Byron in Venice in the late summer and autumn of ; he went to see him again in Ravenna in August ; and from November of that year until May Byron went to live in Pisa, where Shelley had already been settled for a while. Shelley's Venice visit occurred soon after Claire's daughter, Allegra, had been transferred into Byron's care he lent Shelley, Mary, and Claire a summer villa he had rented in Este, outside Venice, so that they could spend time there with Allegra, but also so that he would not have to see the child's mother.
Over a year later, Claire Clairmont began to feel that her daughter was not being looked after properly and told Byron that she wanted Allegra to spend the summer with her in Pisa.
Hoppner had been told by a servant who had once worked for Shelley that when Claire had been in Este she was already pregnant by him and that she had given birth to his child in Naples in February Scholars have established that Shelley did indeed register the birth of an Elena Adelaide Shelley in Naples around that time and that this child died in June of the following year; but no one has been able to discover whether the mother was in fact Claire.
He was able to make a clear separation between principles with which he did not agree and an individual holding them whom he liked and esteemed.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
This is evident in a letter he wrote in June concerning information Shelley had given him about his publisher John Murray. With his speculative opinions I have nothing in common, nor desire to have. For Shelley, on the other hand, opinions mattered supremely because they could help to transform the world and lead to a better life for all. He dramatised this divergence in Julian and Maddalo, a poem which resulted from his seeing Byron in Venice and in which he contrasted what has been called his own meliorism with the fatalistic attitudes of his friend.
I remonstrated with him in vain on the tone of mind from which such a view arises. He had abandoned promiscuity and was leading a relatively settled life as the lover of Teresa Guiccioli.
Yet if difference of opinion was increasingly less of a bar to friendship with Byron, there was still another, formidable, problem which had been present from the beginning. Shelley's relationship with Byron was deeply paradoxical. On the one hand, he evinced towards him a sense of moral and intellectual superiority by always assuming that his own views on certain crucial matters were undoubtedly right and that it was his duty to persuade his friend to share them.
On the other, the hero-worship he had brought to Switzerland never left him, and he was simultaneously dazzled and intimidated by Byron's talent. After describing to Peacock what life in Ravenna with Byron was like, he concludes, I write nothing, and probably shall write no more.
It offends me to see my name classed among those who have no name. If I cannot be something better, I had rather be nothing, … My motive was never the infirm desire of fame; and if I should continue an author, I feel that I should desire it.
This cup is justly given to one only of an age; indeed, participation would make it worthless: The combination of admiration and envy which he felt for Byron was bound to trouble his friendly feelings towards him, especially when the relatively brief period the two poets had spent together in Venice and Ravenna was succeeded by the much longer one in Pisa.
Envy was not, however, the only problem which then inhibited the kind of relationship they had enjoyed in Switzerland. When members of the Guiccioli family had been expelled from Ravenna because of their political activities, Shelley had been instrumental in persuading both Teresa and Byron to come to Pisa.
He wanted to live in close contact with Byron once again, but he also had a scheme for using Byron's money to bring Leigh Hunt over from England so that the three of them could collaborate on a new, liberal, journal. The presence of both Byron and Shelley in the same town attracted to it a number of young men with literary aspirations, and it was with them, as well as with Shelley, that Byron went pistol-shooting and organised a series of all-male dinners.
- Mary Shelley
Shelley had approved the decision to send her to a convent school near Ravenna, but he thought that when Byron came to Pisa he would bring her with him. By this time Claire Clairmont was living in Florence and no longer with the Shelleys if she had been, Byron would have been unlikely to have set foot there ; but that was not too far away for her to have relatively easy access to her daughter if Allegra could be placed in a school, or with a family, in the Pisan district.
Shelley appears to have raised the issue with Byron, but without success, and the whole matter led to what was in his mind a crisis in their relationship. In February he wrote an urgent note to Claire in which he talked of the vital importance of putting an end to his intimacy with Byron.