Young Romantics: the Shelleys, Byron and other tangled lives
(Photo credit: Bloomsbury)
There is a great myth of the Romantic poet being a solitary, introspective soul. Daisy Hay shatters this myth with her compelling, revelatory group biography Young Romantics.
The fiery spirit of the journalist and poet Leigh Hunt bound together a tightly-knit group that included the restless Shelley, his wife Mary and her step-sister Claire Clairmont, who became Byron’s lover and mother of his child.
Author Daisy Hay explores the history of the group, from its inception in 1813 to its ultimate disintegration in the years following 1822. It encompasses tales of love, betrayal, sacrifice and friendship, all of which were played out against a background of political turbulence and intense literary creativity. They loved and hated each other. They were friends but they were also husbands, wives, brothers and sisters.
The turmoil of strained relationships would go on to inspire the drama of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the heady idealism of Shelley’s poetry and Byron’s own self-loathing, self-loving public persona.
The story of their tangled lives is as dramatic as anything they ever wrote.
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