- Born: August 14, 1792, Sussex, England
- Died: July 8, 1822 (aged 29), Gulf of La Spezia, Kingdom of Sardinia (now Italy)
- Notable Works: “Ode to the West Wind, “Ozymandias”, “Music, To a Skylark”, “The Cloud”, “The Mask of Anarchy”, “When Soft Voices Die”
Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 — 8 July 1822) was a Romantic poet and is regarded as one of the greatest English poets of all time. While he did not achieve fame in his lifetime, his radical views on politics, religion and social topics ensured his poetry was recognised following his death, and has influenced many poets since, including Browning, Hardy and Yeats.
Shelley’s best known works include “Ozymandias” (1818), “Ode to the West Wind” (1819), “To a Skylark” (1820), and the political ballad “The Mask of Anarchy” (1819). As well as poetry, he wrote prose fiction and essays on political, social, and philosophical issues.
Shelley’s second wife was Mary Shelley, famous for her novel Frankenstein. Together, the couple had four children, and Shelley fathered at least two other children with his first wife. He died in a boating accident in 1822, at the age of 29.
Percy Bysshe Shelley – Early Life
Percy Bysshe Shelley was born on 4 August 1792 at Field Place, Broadbridge Heath, near Horsham, West Sussex, England. He was the eldest of seven children, born to Sir Timothy Shelley (1753–1844), a Whig Member of Parliament for Horsham from 1790 to 1792 and for Shoreham between 1806 and 1812, and his wife, Elizabeth Pilfold (1763–1846), the daughter of a successful butcher.
His younger siblings were John (1806–1866), Margaret (1801–1887), Hellen (1799–1885), Mary (1797–1884), Hellen (1796–1796, died in infancy) and Elizabeth (1794–1831). His childhood was very happy, and he was particularly close to his mother and his sisters. As a young boy, he was encouraged to hunt, fish and ride.
Shelley was sent to a day school run by the vicar of Warnham church at the age of six, where he displayed an impressive memory and gift for languages.
At ten years old, he enrolled at the Syon House Academy of Brentford, Middlesex, where his cousin Thomas Medwin was a pupil. Shelley was very unhappy here, being subjected to bullying and suffering from nightmares and hallucinations. He was particularly interested in science, often experimenting with gunpowder, acids and electricity.
In 1804, two years later, Shelley entered Eton College. He was bullied here too, and often displayed violent rages that earned him the nickname “Mad Shelley”. His interest in science continued, somewhat dangerously, and led him to giving an electric shock to a master, blowing up a tree stump with gunpowder and attempting to raise spirits with occult rituals.
First Writings and University
Towards his senior years at Eton, Shelley gained a reputation as a classical scholar. In his last term, he wrote his first novel Zastrozzi, and developed a small following among fellow students.
In October 1810, Shelley enrolled in University College, Oxford in October 1810. Just prior to this, Shelley completed Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire (written with his sister Elizabeth), the verse melodrama The Wandering Jew and the gothic novel St. Irvine; or, The Rosicrucian: A Romance (published 1811).
At Oxford, he attended only a few lectures, instead preferring to stay in his room conducting science experiments. It was at university that he met Thomas Jefferson Hogg, who became his closest friend. Hogg influenced Shelley’s views, and he developed strong radical and anti-Christian views. These views were dangerous in the reactionary political climate during Britain’s war with Napoleonic France, and Shelley’s father warned him against Hogg’s influence.
Shelley did not listen to his father’s advice, and in the winter of 1810–1811, published a series of anonymous political poems and tracts: Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson, The Necessity of Atheism (written in collaboration with Hogg) and A Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things. Shelley mailed The Necessity of Atheism to all the bishops and heads of colleges at Oxford. He was then called to appear before the college’s fellows, including the Dean, George Rowley.
However, he refused to answer questions about whether he was the author of the pamphlet, and was expelled from Oxford on 25 March 1811, along with Hogg. When Shelley’s father heard of the expulsion, he threatened to cut all contact with Shelley unless he agreed to return home and study under tutors appointed by him. Shelley refused, and his relationship with his fathered suffered as a result.
Political, Religious and Ethical Views
Shelley had radical political views and was influenced by thinkers such as Rousseau, Paine, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, and Leigh Hunt. He was an advocate for republicanism, parliamentary reform, the extension of the franchise, freedom of speech, an end to aristocratic and clerical privilege, more equal distribution of income and wealth, and Catholic Emancipation. Because of these views, he was placed under government surveillance at certain times.
His most famous political work was the poem Queen Mab, which included extensive notes on political themes.
Shelley was an atheist and saw organised religion as inextricably linked to social oppression. He was influenced by the materialist arguments in Holbach’s Le Système de la nature. Many of his works had to be edited before publication to reduce the risk of prosecution, and his pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism was withdrawn from sale soon after publication following a complaint from a priest. Another famous piece of work, Queen Mab includes criticisms of priesthood, Christianity and religion in general.
Shelley was an advocate for nonviolence and believed that violent protests would increase the prospect of a military despotism. His thoughts on this were largely based on his reflections on the French Revolution and rise of Napoleon. However, he did support the 1820 armed rebellion against absolute monarchy in Spain, and the 1821 armed Greek uprising against Ottoman rule. Shelley’s poem “The Mask of Anarchy” explores his nonviolent views.
Shelley believed in free love and that “sexual connection” should be free among those who loved each other and last only as long as their mutual love. He also argued that lack of free love led to obedience, jealousy and fear, and denied that it would disrupt stable human relationships.
Shelley was influenced by the work of Mary Wollstonecraft and the early work of William Godwin. He argued that the children of unhappy marriages “are nursed in a systematic school of ill-humour, violence and falsehood” and chastity outside marriage was “a monkish and evangelical superstition” which led to the hypocrisy of prostitution and promiscuity.
In his personal life, it is very likely that Shelley encouraged Hogg and Shelley’s second wife Mary to have a sexual relationship.
Shelley became a vegetarian in early March 1812. He was influenced by ancient authors such as Hesiod, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Ovid and Plutarch, but more directly by John Frank Newton, author of The Return to Nature, or, A Defence of the Vegetable Regimen (1811).
His vegetarianism has been said to be very modern, especially as he argued for it’s health benefits, the alleviation of animal suffering, the inefficient use of agricultural land involved in farming, and the economic inequality resulting from the commercialisation of animal food production. Shelley even inspired the founding of the Vegetarian Society in England (1847).
Shelley met Harriet Westbrook, who was a pupil at the same boarding school as Shelley’s sisters, in December 1810, and they began corresponding frequently. Shelley shared his radical political, religious and marital views with Harriet, and convinced her that she was oppressed by her father and at school.
They corresponded more and more as Shelley dealt with emotional strain due to the conflict with his family, as well as health worries. Meanwhile, Harriet’s elder sister, Eliza, encouraged the romance with Shelley.
While Shelley was on holiday in Wales in July 1811, Harriet pleaded for him to return to protect her. He returned to London and, even though he was opposed to marriage, left with the sixteen-year-old Harriet for Edinburgh on 25 August, and they were married there on the 28th.
When both Harriet and Shelley’s fathers heard of the elopement, they cut off their allowances. Shelley and Harriet had to survive on borrowed money, and stayed in Edinburgh for a month, and Hogg lived with them. In October, the three went to York, with Shelley planning to settle matters with his father.
When he returned, he not only found that Eliza had moved into the house too, but Harriet revealed that Hogg had tried to seduce her when Shelly was away. Therefore, Eliza, Harriet and Shelley moved to Keswick in the Lake District, and left Hogg in York.
It was during this time that Shelley was corresponding with Elizabeth Hitchener, a 28-year-old unmarried schoolteacher. Their relationship was platonic, but they shared many of the same views on politics, religion, ethics and personal relationships. Elizabeth joined Eliza, Harriet and Shelley in Keswick, and they lived in a shared house together.
They spent December and January in Keswick, where Shelley visited Robert Southey, whose poetry he admired. Despite differing political views, Southey was taken with Shelley and predicted great things for him as a poet. During this time, Shelley also wrote to William Godwin, author of Political Justice, who advised him to reconcile with his father and become a scholar before he published anything else.
While living in Keswick, Shelley visited his father’s patron, Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, who helped secure the reinstatement of Shelley’s allowance. Harriet’s allowance was also restored, so it was decided that she and Shelley would travel to Ireland.
Their move to Ireland was brought on by hostility from their landlord and neighbours who were alarmed by Shelley’s scientific experiments, pistol shooting and radical political views. Shelley even claimed he had been attacked in his home by ruffians. While this might have been real, it may also have been a delusional episode triggered by stress and was the first of a series of episodes in subsequent years where Shelley claimed to have been attacked by strangers during periods of personal crisis.
While in Ireland, Shelley wrote, published and distributed three political tracts: An Address, to the Irish People, Proposals for an Association of Philanthropists, and Declaration of Rights. He also delivered a speech at a meeting of O’Connell’s Catholic Committee in which he called for Catholic emancipation, repeal of the Act of Union and an end to the oppression of the Irish poor.
The Shelleys then travelled to Wales, then Devon, where they were put under government surveillance for distributing subversive literature. Elizabeth also joined them in Devon, but left several months later after a falling out with the Shelleys.
They then moved back to Wales in September 1812, where Shelley worked on Queen Mab, a utopian allegory with extensive notes preaching atheism, free love, republicanism and vegetarianism. The poem was published the following year in a private edition of 250 copies, although few were initially distributed because the views were so radical.
Return To England
Following another claim by Shelley that he was attacked in his home in February 1813, the Shelley’s fled to Ireland, then London. Back in England, Shelley’s debt was increasing and he tried to reconcile with his father, but was unsuccessful.
On 23 June, Harriet gave birth to a girl, Eliza Ianthe Shelley, and in the following months the relationship between Shelley and his wife deteriorated. Shelley resented the influence Harriet’s sister had over her, while Harriet was alienated by Shelley’s close friendship with an attractive widow, Harriet Boinville, and her daughter Cornelia Turner. Following Eliza Ianthe’s birth, the Shelleys moved frequently across London, Wales, the Lake District, Scotland and Berkshire.
Shelley remarried Harriet in London in March 1814 to settle any doubts about the legality of their Edinburgh wedding and secure the rights of their child. However, they lived apart and their relationship did not get any better.
In May of the same year, Shelley began visiting Godwin, who had become a mentor to him. Soon, he fell in love with Godwin’s 16-year-old daughter, Mary. Mary was also the daughter of the late feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft. Shelley and Mary declared their love for each other during a visit to her mother’s grave on 26 June.
However, when Shelley told Godwin that he intended to leave Harriet and live with Mary, Godwin banished him from the house and forbade Mary from seeing him. Shelley and Mary eloped to Europe on 28 July, taking Mary’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont, with them.
Shelley had secured a loan of £3,000 before leaving, but had left most of the funds at the disposal of Godwin and Harriet, who was now pregnant. The financial arrangement with Godwin led to rumours that he had sold his daughters to Shelley.
Shelley, Mary and Claire travelled around France, Switzerland, Germany and Holland but didn’t have sufficient funds, so they returned to England on 13 September. By this time, Mary was pregnant and very depressed. Harriet had given birth to Charles Bysshe Shelley, heir to the Shelley fortune and baronetcy. During this time, Shelley’s grandfather, Sir Bysshe, had died leaving an estate worth £220,000. However, the settlement of the estate with Shelley’s father was not concluded until April the following year.
Mary gave birth in February 1815 to a premature baby girl, who died ten days later. Hogg had moved into the house and it is possible that Mary, with Shelley’s encouragement, was having a sexual relationship with Hogg. Shelley was almost certainly having a sexual relationship with Claire at this time, however, Claire left the household at Mary’s insistence in May.
In August, Shelley and Mary moved to Bishopsgate. Here, Shelley worked on Alastor, a long poem in blank verse based on the myth of Narcissus and Echo. Alastor was published in an edition of 250 in early 1816. However, it did not sell well and received largely unfavourable reviews.
On 24 January 1816, Mary gave birth to William Shelley. Shelley was delighted to have another son, but was still dealing with financial issues and negotiations with his father, Harriet and William Godwin. During this time, he showed signs of delusional behaviour.
In April 1816, Shelley and Mary were invited to Geneva by Claire, who had initiated a sexual relationship with Lord Byron in April, just before his self-exile on the continent. She was an admirer of Byron, and had sent him Queen Mab and other poems. In Geneva, they discussed literature and science, but one night while Byron was reciting Coleridge’s Christabel, Shelley suffered a severe panic attack with hallucinations. The previous night, Mary had had a vision or nightmare which inspired her novel Frankenstein.
Shelley’s trip to Geneva inspired Shelley to write, and during this time he composed “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty”, his first substantial poem since Alastor, as well as “Mont Blanc”, which has been described as an atheistic response to Coleridge’s “Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamoni”. During this tour, Shelley often signed guest books with a declaration that he was an atheist. These declarations were seen by other British tourists, including Southey, which hardened attitudes against Shelley back home.
Claire became pregnant by Byron and, upon hearing this, Byron’s relationship with the Shelleys became strained. Claire, Mary and Shelley left Switzerland in late August, with arrangements for the expected baby still unclear.
Shelley made provision for Claire and the baby in his will and, in January 1817, Claire gave birth to a daughter by Byron who she named Alba. However, the daughter was later renamed Allegra in accordance with Byron’s wishes.
In September 1816, Mary and Shelley returned to England. In early October, Mary’s half-sister Fanny Imlay had killed herself. Godwin believed that Fanny had been in love with Shelley, and Shelley himself suffered depression and guilt over her death.
Moreover, in December, Shelley’s estranged wife Harriet drowned herself in the Serpentine. At the time she had been pregnant and living alone and had felt abandoned. In her suicide letter, she asked Shelley to take custody of their son Charles but to leave their daughter in her sister Eliza’s care.
On 30 December 1816, Shelley married Mary Godwin, again despite his opposing views on the matter. The marriage was intended to help secure Shelley’s custody of his children by Harriet and to appease Godwin who had refused to see Shelley and Mary because of their previous adulterous relationship.
However, after a prolonged legal battle, the Court of Chancery eventually awarded custody of Shelley and Harriet’s children to foster parents, on the grounds that Shelley had abandoned his first wife for Mary without cause and was an atheist.
The Shelley’s moved to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where they lived with Claire and her baby Allegra. On 2 September Mary gave birth to a daughter, Clara Everina Shelley. Soon after, Shelley left for London with Claire, who Mary already held a strong resentment against. Shelley’s generosity with money and increasing debts also led to financial and marital stress between Shelley and Mary.
In London, Shelley took part in the literary and political circle that surrounded Leigh Hunt. Here, he also met William Hazlitt and John Keats.
During this time, Shelley’s major work e was Laon and Cythna, a long narrative poem featuring incest and attacks on religion. It was hastily withdrawn after publication due to fears of prosecution for religious libel, and was re-edited and reissued as The Revolt of Islam in January 1818.
Shelley also published two political tracts under a pseudonym: A Proposal for putting Reform to the Vote throughout the Kingdom (March 1817) and An Address to the People on the Death of Princess Charlotte (November 1817). In December of that year, he wrote “Ozymandias”. This is considered to be one of his best sonnets, which he wrote as part of a competition with friend and fellow poet Horace Smith.
Italy and Later Years
On 12 March 1818, the Shelley’s and Claire decided to move to Italy. This was party to escape the social and religious views of England that Shelley did not agree with, and was also recommended by Shelley’s doctor, who suggested Shelley would be able to find help for his chronic lung complaint in Italy. Shelley had arranged to take Claire’s daughter, Allegra, to her father Byron who was now in Venice.
Shelley left Mary and baby Clara in Bagni di Lucca while he travelled with Claire to Venice to see Byron and make arrangements for visiting Allegra. Byron invited the Shelleys to stay at his summer residence at Este, and Shelley told Mary to meet him there. However, Clara became seriously ill on the journey and died on 24 September in Venice. Following her death, Mary fell into a long period of depression and emotional estrangement from Shelley.
The family moved to Naples on 1 December, where they stayed for three months. While here, Shelley registered the birth and baptism of a baby girl, Elena Adelaide Shelley (born 27 December), naming himself as the father and falsely naming Mary as the mother.
The parentage of Elena has never been conclusively established. It has been speculated that she was adopted by Shelley to console Mary for the loss of Clara, that she was Shelley’s child to Claire, that she was his child to his servant Elise Foggi, or that she was the child of a “mysterious lady” who had followed Shelley to the continent. Shelley registered the birth and baptism on 27 February 1820, and the household left Naples for Rome the following day, leaving Elena with carers. However, Elena died in Naples on 9 June 1820.
Travel Around Italy and Further Work
While in Rome, Shelley became ill, probably suffering from nephritis and tuberculosis. However, he completed three major works: Julian and Maddalo, Prometheus Unbound and The Cenci. Julian and Maddalo is an autobiographical poem which explores the relationship between Shelley and Byron and analyses Shelley’s personal crises of 1818 and 1819. The poem was completed in the summer of 1819, but was not published in Shelley’s lifetime. Prometheus Unbound is a long dramatic poem inspired by Aeschylus’s retelling of the Prometheus myth. It was completed in late 1819 and published in 1820.
The Cenci is a verse drama of rape, murder and incest based on the story of the Renaissance Count Cenci of Rome and his daughter Beatrice. Shelley completed the play in September and the first edition was published that year. It became one of his most popular works and the only one to have two authorised editions in his lifetime.
In June of the same year, Shelley’s three-year-old son William died, probably of malaria. This worsened Shelley’s health and deepened Mary’s depression. In September, the couple moved to Livorno, where he completed one of his most famous political poems, The Mask of Anarchy. However, it was not published for fear of seditious libel.
A month later, the Shelleys moved to Florence, and, on 12 November, Mary gave birth to a boy, Percy Florence Shelley. Around this time, the Shelleys met Sophia Stacey, who was a ward of one of Shelley’s uncles and was staying at the same pension as the Shelleys. Sophia, a talented harpist and singer, formed a friendship with Shelley while Mary was preoccupied with her newborn son. Shelley wrote at least five love poems and fragments for Sophia including “Song written for an Indian Air”.
In January 1820, the Shelleys moved to Pisa to consult a doctor who had been recommended to them. Mary was still suffering from a deep depression and Shelley was dealing with financial worries. At the time, he was also writing A Philosophical View of Reform, a political essay which he had begun in Rome. The unfinished essay, which remained unpublished in Shelley’s lifetime, has been called “one of the most advanced and sophisticated documents of political philosophy in the nineteenth century”.
In July 1820, upon hearing that John Keats was seriously ill in England, Shelley invited him to stay with the family in Pisa. However, Keats died in 1821 and Shelley wrote Adonais. Harold Bloom considers one of the major pastoral elegies. The poem was published in Pisa in July 1821, but sold few copies.
In June of 1820, Shelley claimed that he had been assaulted in the Pisan post office by a man accusing him of foul crimes. It is thought that this was the result of one of two things — a hallucination brought on by extreme stress, or Shelley was being blackmailed by a former servant, Paolo Foggi, over baby Elena.
If he was being blackmailed, it is likely that the blackmail was connected with a story spread by another former servant, Elise Foggi, that Shelley had fathered a child to Claire in Naples and had sent it to a foundling home. Shelley, Claire and Mary denied this story.
When news broke that baby Elena had died, relations between Mary and Claire deteriorated and Claire spent most of the next two years living separately from the Shelleys, mainly in Florence.
In December 1820, Shelley met Teresa (Emilia) Viviani, who was the 19-year-old daughter of the Governor of Pisa. She was living in a convent awaiting a suitable marriage and Shelley visited her several times over the next few months. They started a passionate correspondence, however, this dwindled after Emilia’s marriage the following September. Emilia was the inspiration for Shelley’s major poem Epipsychidion.
The following year, Shelley completed “A Defence of Poetry”. He also visited Byron in Ravenna and invited the older poet to spend the winter in Pisa. With Byron living in Pisa, just across the river from the Shelleys, Byron became the centre of the “Pisan circle” which was to include Shelley, Thomas Medwin, Edward Williams and Edward Trelawny.
During this time, Shelley also became increasingly close to Jane Williams, who was living with her partner Edward Williams in the same building as the Shelleys. Shelley wrote a number of love poems for Jane, including “The Serpent is shut out of Paradise” and “With a Guitar, to Jane”. Shelley’s obvious affection for Jane caused increasing tension between Shelley, Edward Williams and Mary.
Following the announcement that Claire’s daughter Allegra had died of typhus in Ravenna when she arrived in Pisa, the Shelleys and Claire moved to Villa Magni, near Lerici on the shores of the Gulf of La Spezia. Shelley acted as mediator between Claire and Byron over arrangements for the burial of their daughter, and the added strain led to Shelley having a series of hallucinations
Mary almost died from a miscarriage on 16 June, her life only being saved by Shelley’s effective first aid, and, the following week, Shelley woke the household with his screaming over a nightmare or hallucination in which he saw Edward and Jane Williams as walking corpses and himself strangling Mary.
It was during this time that he was also writing his final major poem, which was the unfinished The Triumph of Life.
On 1 July 1822, Shelley sailed with Edward Williams in his new boat the Don Juan to Livorno. Here, Shelley met Leigh Hunt and Byron in order to make arrangements for a new journal, The Liberal. After the meeting, on 8 July, Shelley, Williams and their boat boy sailed out of Livorno for Lerici. A few hours later, the Don Juan and its inexperienced crew were lost in a storm.
The boat had been custom-built in Genoa for Shelley. At the time of sinking, it had been overmasted and the sinking was due to a severe storm and poor seamanship of the three men on board.
Shelley’s badly-decomposed body washed ashore at Viareggio ten days later. It was identified by Trelawny from the clothing and a copy of Keats’s Lamia in a jacket pocket. On 16 August, his body was cremated on a beach near Viareggio and the ashes were buried in the Protestant Cemetery of Rome.
Shelley’s ashes were reburied in a different plot at the cemetery in 1823. His heart, which had resisted burning when his body was burnt on the beach, was given to Hunt who preserved it in spirits of wine and refused to hand it over to Mary.
However, he finally relented and the heart was eventually buried either at St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth or in Christchurch Priory.
Shelley’s work was not widely read in his lifetime, and any copies of his work that sold, sold very poorly. Because of his strong views, the reviews of his work were often negative and the focus was on his political, social and religious views, rather than his style of writing or imagery.
Shelley’s mainstream following did not develop until a generation after his death, and he was a major influence on a number of poets, including Robert Browning, Swinburne, Hardy and Yeats.
In the 1960s, critics began to value Shelley’s work more, focusing on his genres and verse forms, and the complex interplay of sceptical, idealist and materialist ideas in his work. To this day, he is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and one of the most highly regarded Romantic poets of the 19th century.
Poetry, fiction and verse drama
- (1810) Zastrozzi
- (1810) Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire (collaboration with Elizabeth Shelley)
- (1810) Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson: Being Poems Found Amongst the Papers of That Noted Female Who Attempted
- the Life of the King in 1786
- (1810) St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian (published 1811)
- (1812) The Devil’s Walk: A Ballad
- (1813) Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem
- (1815) Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude (Published 1816)
- (1816) Mont Blanc
- (1816) On Death
- (1817) Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
- (1817) Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century (published 1818)
- (1818) The Revolt of Islam, A Poem, in Twelve Cantos
- (1818) Ozymandias
- (1818) Rosalind and Helen: A Modern Eclogue (published in 1819)
- (1818) Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills, October 1818
- (1819) The Cenci, A Tragedy, in Five Acts
- (1819) Ode to the West Wind
- (1819) The Mask of Anarchy (published 1832)
- (1819) England in 1819
- (1819) Julian and Maddalo: A Conversation
- (1820) Peter Bell the Third (published in 1839)
- (1820) Prometheus Unbound, A Lyrical Drama, in Four Acts
- (1820) To a Skylark
- (1820) The Cloud
- (1820) The Sensitive Plant
- (1820) Oedipus Tyrannus; Or, Swellfoot The Tyrant: A Tragedy in Two Acts
- (1820) The Witch of Atlas (published in 1824)
- (1821) Adonais
- (1821) Epipsychidion
- (1822) Hellas, A Lyrical Drama
- (1822) The Triumph of Life (unfinished, published in 1824)
Short prose works
- “The Assassins, A Fragment of a Romance” (1814)
- “The Coliseum, A Fragment” (1817)
- “The Elysian Fields: A Lucianic Fragment” (1818)
- “Una Favola (A Fable)” (1819, originally in Italian)
- The Necessity of Atheism (with T. J. Hogg) (1811)
- Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things (1811)
- An Address, to the Irish People (1812)
- Declaration of Rights (1812)
- A Letter to Lord Ellenborough (1812)
- A Vindication of Natural Diet (1813)
- A Refutation of Deism (1814)
- Speculations on Metaphysics (1814)
- On the Vegetable System of Diet (1814–1815; published 1929)
- On a Future State (1815)
- On The Punishment of Death (1815)
- Speculations on Morals (1817)
- On Christianity (incomplete, 1817; published 1859)
- On Love (1818)
- On the Literature, the Arts and the Manners of the Athenians (1818)
- On The Symposium, or Preface to The Banquet Of Plato (1818)
- On Frankenstein (1818; published in 1832)
- On Life (1819)
- A Philosophical View of Reform (1819–20, first published 1920)
- A Defence of Poetry (1821, published 1840)
- Wolfstein; or, The Mysterious Bandit (1822)
- Wolfstein, The Murderer; or, The Secrets of a Robber’s Cave (1830)
- The Banquet (or The Symposium) of Plato (1818) (first published in unbowdlerised form 1931)
- Ion of Plato (1821)
Collaborations with Mary Shelley
- (1817) History of a Six Weeks’ Tour
- (1820) Proserpine
- (1820) Midas
Link/cite this page
If you use any of the content on this page in your own work, please use the code below to cite this page as the source of the content.
Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Percy Bysshe Shelley" https://englishhistory.net/poets/percy-bysshe-shelley/, November 18, 2021