3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An excellent read, even for someone who loathes Romantic poetry and breaks out in hives when someone quotes 'Daffodils'...,
This review is from: Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives (Paperback)
The classic image of the Romantic poets is that of the solitary genius, deriving inspiration externally from nature and internally from some ineffable commune between the soul and its Muse. Daisy Hay sets out to refute this notion, highlighting just how intertwined were the lives of the most famous Romantics, how much they influenced and inspired one another, and how much friendship and the commune of minds influenced their personal and political outlooks on life.
The most famous example of this poetic network is that of the 1817 summer meeting of Shelley and his wife, Mary, Claire Clairmont and Lord Byron on the shores of Lake Geneva, the meeting that inspired Frankenstein among other creative endeavours - but this is just one example among many of the 'web' that entangled the Shelleys, Byron, Keats, Hazlitt, Haydon, Leigh Hunt, Charles and Mary Lamb, and on the periphery older Romantics like Coleridge and Wordsworth.
Daisy Hay's book reads almost like fiction, so interesting and dramatic were the lives of these individuals - although few of the men emerge as especially 'romantic' or appealing figures, too self-centred and wrapped up in their own importance and poetic genius for modern tastes. As one might expect from a female author, the women are not given as short shrift as they often are when focusing on the lives of famous men - indeed, if any notable figure is neglected here, it's probably Keats.
All in all, an excellent read and one I could recommend to anyone even tangentially interested in the Romantic poets - if someone like myself, who loathes Romantic poetry and breaks out in hives when someone even begins to utter 'I wandered lonely as a cloud', can enjoy this book, it truly deserves its acclaim.