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English Literature   >   The Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shelley: The Life

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The Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley

In this course, Dr Ross Wilson (University of Cambridge) explores the poetry of the great Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. We begin in the first module by providing a brief overview of Shelley's short life and career with an emphasis on his rebelliousness and the unconventional nature of his life, and a broad overview of the variety of his writings. After that, we turn to his early verse ('The Wandering Jew', 'Queen Mab', 'The Cold Earth Slept Below') before turning in the third module to his writings in Italy ('Stanzas Written in Dejection, near Naples', 'The Vine-Shroud', 'Alas! This Is Not What I Thought Life Was'). In the fourth module, we think about the concept of poetry as a gift to be given ('With a Guitar, to Jane', 'The Question'), before turning in the fifth and sixth modules to two of Shelley's most well-known poems: 'Ode to the West Wind' in the fifth module, and Shelley's great, final, uncompleted poem, 'The Triumph of Life' in the sixth.

Shelley: The Life

In this module, we think about Shelley's early life and education, focusing in particular on: the political climate into which he was born; his experiences at both school and university; his first marriage; his correspondence with William Godwin and elopement with his daughter, Mary; their travels in Europe, including the famous trip to the Villa Diodati in Switzerland, which gave rise to 'Frankenstein'; his vegetarianism; and his varied literary output – including his political writings, plays, and poetry.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wilson, R. (2019, January 07). The Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley - Shelley: The Life [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wilson, R. "The Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley – Shelley: The Life." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2019,


Dr Ross Wilson

Dr Ross Wilson

University of Cambridge