Friday, August 5, 2011

Thinking about Shelley ...

Scrummy new books ...

... while I was clearing leaves in the garden yesterday. He is not one of my favourite characters from literary history what with his monstrous ego, his cavalier attitude to his wives and children and his rackety lifestyle, to say nothing of his Christian name, but I suppose he must have been undeniably charismatic. And then there's the poetry, of course. She said, ironically.

I remember being set tracts of Ode to the West Wind to learn by heart as English Lit homework. It was hardly a punishment after reams of Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard I can tell you, in fact I still love that poem, but even then as a callow schoolgirl I preferred committing Keats to memory. And as I read about their lives I have to say the more I read about the privileged ethereal Shelley the more I preferred the under privileged and down-to-earth Keats.

That said I am rather enjoying The Young Romantics by Daisy Hay, one of a batch of books I got from Amazon recently, which features the story of Shelley and his entourage (it's the one on the far left in the above photo) writ very large by comparison with Leigh Hunt and Byron, the other main protagonists.

All this as a bit of a long-winded way to introduce the fact that Shelley was born in a splendid, highly collagable house, Field Place, in the Horsham area of West Sussex in 1792.
He died almost thirty years later, drowned in a storm at sea.
Before he could get his hands on the house or his inheritance, albeit he'd managed to live off the prospects of it for all his adult years.

I like the idea of trying to contrast the contained domestic classical symmetry of Field Place with a suggestion of his turbulent life and death as a meteorological backdrop. Enlightened balance v. romantic drama.
If you get my meaning.

This is what my doodlebook looks like at present.
Another morning raking up leaves and assorted creepy crawlies should do it ...

1 comment:

  1. Love seeing the doodlebook and hearing how you work these collages out. Hope your headaches are better. Off to Google Shelley!