WORDSWORTH Trust ’s summer exhibition is about the literary Shelley family and how their lives were so diverse in thoughts, ideals, work and action.
The Grasmere arts organisation’s summer exhibition is about the literary Shelley family and how their lives were so diverse in thoughts, ideals, work and action.
“Percy Bysshe Shelley is most famous for his poetry, but his radical ideas on politics and society are also important, and relevant, to the way we live our lives today,” said trust director Michael McGregor.
Percy’s second wife, Mary, is best known for her novel, Frankenstein, which has been the subject of, and influenced, umpteen feature films.
The exhibition will be Shelley’s Ghost: Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family.
It will explore how the reputation of a great literary family was shaped by the selective release and suppression of manuscripts and documents into the public domain, and gain an insight into the real lives of a family that was blessed with genius but marred by tragedy.
A major English Romantic poet and critically regarded among the finest in the English language, Percy was famous for his words and revolutionary political thought, but infamous for his convoluted private life and his treatment of women.
He was expelled from Oxford for publishing a pamphlet endorsing atheism and married a 16 year-old girl shortly afterwards.
Three years later he abandoned his wife and ran off to Europe with the daughter of a friend, Mary (who he later married) and her step-sister.
Mary wrote Frankenstein while visiting Lord Byron with her husband in Italy and the manuscript of the sensational work will feature in the exhibition.
Added Michael: “Although the novel varies dramatically from most of the horror films containing the same name, we will be creating a reconstruction of what Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory might have looked like.”