Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats and Walter Scott

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    Jan 28, 2013
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Shelley was educated at Eton and Oxford, but was expelled from the University for writing a pamphlet on atheism. In 1816 he published his first great poems. Alastor and the Hymn to Intellectual Beauty. His whole existence was a quest for beauty, but his domestic life was unhappy. Besides a great deal of lyrical poetry, he wrote a tragedy in blank verse, The Cenci, on a subject from Italian history; Prometheus Bound; and the lovely edge, Adonais,on the death of Keats. These poems were written in Italy, where Shelley spent the last six years of his life. In 1822 he was drowned in a storm while sailing in a small boat off the Italian coast.

Unlike the other great poets of this period, Keats came of a poor family and had little regular education. He studied medicine without enthusiasm, but eagerly read Homer (in translation) and the poets of the Renaissance, and had many literary friends. Like Shelley he had an intense love for beauty. His first considerable poem, Endymion, was badly received by the critics, but he published another volume two years later, in 1820, and this contained the famous Ode to a Nightingale and Ode on a Grecian Urn. His last years were clouded by illness, and he died  in Rome, where his friend had taken in the hope of his recovery.

Scott was the son of a Scottish lawyer and became a lawyer himself. As a child he was lame and unable to play with other children, so he spent much of his time reading medieval ballads and romances and was latter inspired to write verse romances based on Scottish traditions (The Lay of the Last Minstrel, The Lady of the Lake, etc.). Finding that Byron`s poems were having a greater success with the public than his own verse, Scott turned to novel writing, beginning with Waverley (1814). His novels were first published anonymously and known as the Waverley Novels. Their subjects were mostly taken from English and Scottish history. Ivanhoe, Kenilworth and Old Mortality are among the best known. In 1826 Scott found himself responsible for a debt of 130, 000 pounds, and although it was not his fault, he tried to repay the sum by writing still more novels. This effort finally ruined his health, and he died in 1832.



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