Young Romantics, Conventional Children

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27 June 2010

From the Literary Review last week, a review of Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives, Daisy Hay’s new group biography.  (How can one resist a title like that?)

This bit from the review fascinates me, particularly the last sentence:

Hay makes clear it was the women, those in the indigent [Leigh] Hunt household, as well as the wives, lovers and muses of Shelley and Byron, who had most to lose from these experiments in living, and who frequently suffered from the scandals they provoked. Bess Kent survived to write botanical books. Mary Shelley, who continued to write fiction, became the keeper of Shelley’s reputation, editing his poems and domesticating him for Victorian sensibilities. She hoped her only surviving son would be taught to think like other people, and he duly became a conventional citizen.

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