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Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life and Writing Style

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by

April Futch

on 21 March 2014

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Transcript of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life and Writing Style

Writing Form (cont)
Both his life and his work reflect many of the major romantic themes
Rebellion against authority
Restlessness
Love of nature
Looking for ideal love
"the subject matter of the poems is not only romantic but characteristically Shelleyan: poetry, love, sorrow, hope, nature, and politics"
Basic Facts
Born August 4, 1792 to Timothy and Elizabeth Shelley
Told ghost stories and had a playful imagination as a child
Strong atheist
Drowned in a storm while sailing with his friend Edward Williams; body was washed ashore July 18, 1822
Love Life
Believed in "free love"
August 1811: Marries Harriet Westbrook after eloping with her to "rescue" her from boarding school
1814: Elopes with Mary Godwin even though he is already married and her parents don't like the match
1816: Harriet commits suicide; Shelley loses the battle for custody of her two children
December 30, 1816: Officially marries Mary
Works of Literature
Wrote many Gothic novels
Published
Necessity of Atheism
which had a “disastrous effect on his relationship with his family and […] a dramatic effect on his life”
Volume of poems
Alastor
(1816) marked the beginning of a change in Shelley’s writing style
Some consider his masterpiece to be
Prometheus Unbound
(1820)
Also published various political pamphlets, especially about Ireland
Writing Style
Used a lot of powerful symbolism and imagery, especially visual
Liked to imitate the style of William Wordsworth
Poems reflect his life circumstances, friends, and political beliefs
Liked to take the unpopular side of arguments and social issues
Pursued the ideal but was also skeptical
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life and Writing Style
Mary Shelley
Full transcript