The Shelley Chronology is a hypertext chronology of important dates in the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is designed to function both as a stand-alone resource and in conjunction with The Romantic Chronology at UC Santa Barbara. When not otherwise specified, all dates in the chronology are from the "Updated Edition" of Percy Bysshe Shelley by Donald H. Reiman, to whom this chronology's creator is gratefully indebted for his continued guidance and support in its ongoing development. The most specific dates possible have been given for each event in the chronology; however, it is not always possible to precisely date the occurrence of particular events. In such cases, the order of events as they appear in the chronology reflects the order of occurrence but the space which would normally contain a day and/or month reference for the event has been left blank.
The Shelley Chronology is developing resource. At present, the chronology contains reference links only to those events for which dates are in dispute or difficult to state with certainty. I hope, over time, to add a reference link for each event in the chronology. I plan also, in the immediate future, to add Shelley's reading to the chronology. Please send comments and suggestions to Carl Stahmer at email@example.com.
|1789||14 July||Storming of the Bastille in Paris.||
|1792||4 Aug||Percy Bysshe Shelley (PBS) born at Field Place, Warnham, near Horsham, West Sussex, the eldest child of Timothy Shelley, M.P., and Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley, and eldest grandchild of (Percy) Bysshe Shelley, a wealthy landowner.|
|1793||January||Execution of King Louis XVI .|
|February||France declares war on England and Holland.|
|May||Reign of Terror (May 1793-July 1794).|
|October||Execution of Marie-Antoinette.|
|1794||May||Habeas Corpus suspended in England (also in August 1799, April 1801, and 1803).|
|Oct.-Dec.||London treason trials of Horne, Tooke, Hardy, and others, with their acquittals.|
Napoleon Bonaparte leads French army into Italy and defeats Austrians.
|1797||29 Mar.||William Godwin marries Mary Wollstonecraft.|
|30 Aug.||Mary Wollstonecraft gives birth to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley-MWS).|
|10 Sept.||Mary Wollstonecraft dies.|
|17 Oct||Bonaparte imposes Treaty of Campo Formio on Austria.|
PBS studies with local clergyman, the Reverend Evan ("Taffy") Edwards.
|Feb.-Oct.||The Irish Rebellion.|
|1 Aug.||Nelson destroys French fleet at Battle ofthe Nile.|
|1799||October||Napoleon returns to France--becomes first consul in November.|
Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
|14 June||Napoleon defeats Austrians at Marengo.|
William Pitt ousted.
|April||Nelson bombards Copenhagen and destroys neutral Danish fleet to prevent it from falling into French Hands.|
PBS begins boarding school at Syon House Academy, Isleworth, on the Great Western Road in Thames Valley.
|March||Peace of Amiens between England and France.|
|August||Napoleon's title of First Consul (1799) extended for life.|
|October||French invade Switzerland.|
|1803||May||Renewal of war between France and England.|
|1804||May||Napoleon declared Emperor of France.|
|Second Pitt administration begins.|
PBS begins studies at Eton (continues through spring of 1810).
|1805||May||Napoleon crowned King of Italy.|
|October||Nelson's victory (and death) at Trafalgar balances Napoleon's defeat of the Austrians at Ulm the same mont and of both the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz in December.|
|1806||Earliest possible year for any of PBS's poems in The Esdaile Notebook (latest written 1813).|
|February||National unity "Ministry of All the Talents."|
|June||Abolition of slave trade.|
|Bysshe Shelley created Sir Bysshe Shelley, baronet.|
|September||Charles James Fox dies.|
|October||Napoleon crushes Prussians at Jena-Auerstädt.|
|1807||March||Duke of Portland's coalition administration begins.|
|June||Napoleon defeats Russians at Friedland.|
|July||Napoleon and Czar Alexander sign Treaty of Tilsit.|
|1808||PBS begins corresponding with his Wiltshire cousin Harriet Grove (their "engagement" ends in 1810).|
|August||British under Wellesley open Peninsular Campaign with victory at Vimera, but sign away advantages to French in Convention of Cintra (August 30).|
|1809||PBS writes five or six poems in The Esdaile Notebook.|
|October||Spencer Perceval, a Tory, becomes Prime Minister.|
PBS's Gothic novel Zastrozzi published.
PBS concludes his studies at Eaton.
PBS and his sister Elizabeth's Original Poetry by "Victor" and "Cazire" published and withdrawn.
PBS begins studies at University College, Oxford, where he meets Thomas Jefferson Hogg shortly thereafter.
|November||PBS's Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson published.|
St. Irvyne, PBS's second Gothic novel, published.
|1811||January||PBS meets Harriet Westbrook.|
PBS and Hogg write The Necessity of Atheism.
|25 Mar.||PBS and Hogg expelled from University College for refusing to answere questions about the authorship of The Necessity of Atheism.|
PBS and Harriet Westbrook elope and are married in Edinburgh on 29 August.
The Shelley's arrive at York, where Hogg tries to seduce Harriet.
Shelleys move to Keswick and are befriended by Southey.
Early in the month, the Shelleys travel to Dublin.
|In Dublin, PBS publishes two pamphlets, Address to the Irish People and Proposals for an Association of . . .Philanthropists.|
Declaration of Rights printed.
Shelleys return to Wales.
|May||Spencer Perceval assassinated by an insane bankrupt--succeeded as Tory Prime Minister by Robert Banks Jenkins, 2nd Earl of Loverpool (who serves till his death in 1827).|
Shelleys move to Lynmouth, Devon, where PBS writes Letter to Lord Ellenborough.
|Napoleon invades Russia.|
|September||Shelleys, joined by Elizabeth Hitchener in July, go to Tremadoc, North Wales.|
Napoleon wins Battle of Borodino and captures Moscow.
Sometime after this date, Shelleys and Hitchener go to London.
PBS meets William Godwin in London.
|October||Moscow is burned and French begin disastrous retreat, which continues during one of the coldest winters in European history.|
|November||Mid-month, Shelleys, without Hitchener, return to Tremadoc.|
|1813||Napoleon tries unsuccessfully to defeat the Allies in Germany, with major battles at Dresden in August and Leipzig in October.|
|27 Feb.||Shelleys flee Tremadoc and go to Ireland to recover manuscript of The Esdaile Notebook from printer there.|
|5 Apr.||Shelleys return to London.|
|May||Queen Mab issued.|
|23 June||Ianthe Shelley born.|
Shelleys at Bracknell, with Newton-Boinville circle.
Early in the month, the Allies begin their invasion of France.
|Jan. or Feb.||PBS publishes A Refutation of Deism.|
|31 Mar.||Allies capture Paris.|
Napoleon deposed and then abdicates (4-6 April).
|6 Apr.||Louis XVIII proclaimed king.|
PBS and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (MWS) elope to war-ravaged France, accompanied by MWS's step-sister, Mary Jane (later "Claire") Clairmont (born ?April 27, 1798), after which they quickly remove to Switzerland.
|13 Sept.||From Switzerland they return to England, after journey down Rhine.|
|September||Congress of Vienna convenes (continues, with interruptions, till June 1815).|
|30 Nov.||PBS's first son, Charles, born to Harriet.|
Sir Bysshe Shelley dies. During the subsequent 18 months, PBS is involved in negotiations with his father over the settlement of the will, ultimately receiving money to pay his debts (some cash he diverts to Godwin), as well as an annual income of 1,000 pounds (200 earmarked for Harriet; later 120 for her children).
|January||PBS involved with George Cannon and Theological Inquirer.|
PBS, MWS, Claire Clairmont, and Hogg engage in free-love experiment.
|?22 Feb.||MWS's first child (a daughter) born prematurely--dies on March 6.|
Napoleon returns to rule France for the Hundred Days in March through June.
|August||PBS and MWS settle near Bishopsgate.|
|September||Shelleys travel by boat up the Thames with Peacock and Charles Clairmont.|
PBS writes Alastor.
|1816||24 Jan.||William Shelley born.|
|February||Alastor . . .and Other Poems published.|
|25 Apr.||Byron leaves England.|
|May||Princess Charlotte, only legitimate child of the Prince Regent (later George IV), marries Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.|
PBS, MWS, and Claire Clairmont leave England for Geneva (arrive mid-May) and remain near Byron till August 29.
|June||PBS tours Lake Leman with Byron and writes "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty."|
|July||Shelleys visit Mont Blanc and PBS writes "Mont Blanc."|
|8 Sept.||Shelleys reach Portsmouth, after which they settle at Bath.|
|9 Oct.||Fanny Imlay (MWS's half-sister) commits suicide in Wales.|
|2 Dec.||A year of social unrest caused by unemployment, bad harvests, and food shortages culminates in Spa Fields Riot.|
Harriet Shelley drowns herself (her body found December 10).
|30 Dec.||PBS and MWS marry.|
Allegra Byron, Claire's daughter, born at Bath.
PBS meets Keats and Reynolds at supper with Leigh Hunt.
PBS, MWS, William, and Claire Clairmont travel to Marlow.
|4 Mar.||Habeas Corpus suspended (till February 1818), after which opposition journalists flee or are imprisoned.|
|circa 14 Mar.||
PBS's Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote published.
Chancery Court denies PBS custody of his children (by Harriet) Ianthe and Charles.
Shelleys spend first night in Albion House, their permanent home while at Marlow.
|?Mar.-Sept.||PBS writes Laon and Cythna.|
|2 Sept.||Clara Shelley born.|
|?Sept.-Dec.||PBS drafts "Essay on Christianity."|
|?Oct.-Nov.||Laon and Cythna printed.|
History of a Six Weeks' Tour by MWS and PBS published.
|6 Nov.||Princess Charlotte dies in Childbirth.|
PBS writes (and perhaps publishes soon after) An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte.
|December||Revised version of Laon and Cythna published as The Revolt of Islam (dated 1818).|
|MWS's Frankenstein published (dated 1818).|
|David Booth and W.T. Baxter break with the Shelleys.|
|?January||PBS begins Rosalind and Helen.|
|12 Mar.||After spending time in London, PBS and MWS leave for the Continent, accompanied by Claire Clairmont, three children, and two female servants--Amelia (Milly) Shields and Louise (Elise) Duvillard.|
|4 Apr.||Shelley party reaches Milan April 4, visit the Italian lakes, send Allegra, with Elise, to Byron April 28, visit Pisa Livorno (Leghorn), and meet the Gisbornes in May.|
|June||Shelleys move to Bagni di (Baths of) Lucca, where PBS translates Plato's Symposium, writes "On Love," and completes Rosalind and Helen.|
PBS and Claire depart for Venice with hopes of convincing Byron to allow Claire to see Allegra.
The day after arriving in Venice, PBS visits Byron; sends letter to MWS summoning her and the children (with Milly and new servant, Paolo Foggi).
PBS settles at Este and begins Prometheus Unbound.
|24 Sept.||Little Clara Shelley dies.|
|?Sept.-11 Oct.||PBS's depression reflected in "Euganean Hills" and beginning of "Julian and Maddalo."|
|12-31 Oct.||Shelleys visit Venice.|
|Nov.-1 Dec.||Shelleys travel to Rome and Naples, remaining in Naples till February 28, 1819, with excursions to Vesuvius, Paestum, etc.|
|5 Mar.||Shelleys reach Rome.|
|Mar.-May||PBS drafts Acts II-III of Prometheus.|
|7 June||William Shelley dies.|
Shelleys flee to Livorno, where MWS remains in depression, while PBS writes The Cenci in summer (printed in Italy, it is sent to England for publication in 1820).
|16 Aug.||"Peterloo Massacre."|
|September||News of "Peterloo Massacre" provokes PBS to write Mask of Anarchy.|
|2 Oct.||Shelleys move to Firenze (Florence), where son Percy Florence Shelley is born November 12 and where PBS finishes Prometheus (published August 1820).|
|Oct.-Nov.||PBS writes "West Wind" and "Peter Bell the Third."|
|?Dec.-Jan.||PBS drafts "A Philosophical View of Reform."|
|Dec./Jan.||Parliament fears revolution and passes the "Six Acts" to repress dissent.|
|January||George III dies and George IV succeeds.|
|January||Spanish army revolts.|
|26 Jan.||Shelleys move to Pisa.|
Cato Street conspiracy to Kill the English ministry foiled (leaders executed 1 May).
|March||PBS writes "Sensitive Plant."|
|PBS writes "Ode to Liberty," and "Sky-lark."|
|Constitutional monarchy established in Spain.|
|June-Aug.||Shelleys in England--live in Gisbornes's house at Livorno.|
|ff. 16 June||PBS writes "Letter to Maria Gisborne."|
|July||Constitutional revolution in Naples in July.|
|July||Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of George IV, returns from Italy to England to claim her rights as queen; she is "tried" by House of Lords (August-November) but becomes a rallying point for the opposition.|
|August||Prometheus Unbound published.|
|Aug.-Oct.||At Bagni di San Giuliano (Bagni di Pisa), PBS writes "Witch of Atlas," "Ode to Naples," and Swellfoot the Tyrant (the last published and suppressed in November or December).|
Claire Clairmont moves to Firenze.
|October||At end of month, flood forces Shelleys (with Medwin) to return to Pisa.|
|November||Shelleys meet Teresa ("Emilia") Viviani.|
|2 Dec.||Shelleys meet Mavrocordato.|
|Jan.-Feb.||PBS visits Teresa Viviani and writes Epipsychidion.|
|13 Jan.||Shelleys meet Edward and Jane Williams who have recently arrived in Pisa.|
|Feb.-Mar.||PBS writes "A Defence of Poetry."|
|March||Austrians crush Neapolitan liberals and restore hegemony throughout Italy.|
|March||Greeks in Morea rise against Turkish rule.|
|April||Expatriate Greeks from Russia invade Turkish provinces.|
|11 Apr.||A letter from London informs PBS of Keats's death (Rome, February 23).|
|May||Early in the month, Williamses move to Pugnano, Shelleys to Bagni di San Giuliano, both on the River Serchio; Epipsychidion published anonymously.|
|May/June||PBS writes Adonais (printed July).|
|August||PBS visits Byron at Ravenna and urges him and the Gambas to move to Pisa.|
|August||Gambas arrive in Pisa.|
|Oct.-Nov.||PBS writes Hellas.|
|1 Nov.||Byron arrives in Pisa.|
|?January||PBS works on "Charles the First."|
|14 Jan.||Edward John Trelawny arrives in Pisa.|
|"Pisan Circle," centered on Byron and PBS, plans theatricals.|
|20 Apr.||Allegra Byron dies.|
|30 Apr.||Shelleys and Williamses move to San Terenzo, on Bay of Lerici.|
|12 May||PBS's boat, the Don Juan, arrives.|
|+ 20 May||PBS writes "The Triumph of Life."|
|16 June||MWS miscarries.|
|1 July||PBS and Williams sail to Leghorn to meet Hunts.|
|8 July||PBS and Williams begin return voyage from Leghorn.|
|19 July||Trelawny identifies two bodies, one near Via Reggio and the other three miles down the shore at Lericcio, as those of PBS and Williams.|
Bodies temporarily buried.
|13 Aug.||Williams's body cremated.|
|14 Aug.||PBS's body cremated.|
|September+||MWS and Hunts live together and near Byron at Albaro, outside Genoa (through July 1823).|
|1823||July||MWS returns to England.|
|1824||June||MWS's edition of PBS's Posthumous Poems published.|
|September||Posthumous Poems suppressed at insistence of Sir Timothy Shelley.|
If you have questions or comments about The Shelley Chronology or would like to suggest an addition or correction, please contact Carl Stahmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Inquiries and Comments||©2001 University of Maryland|
General Editors: Neil Fraistat, Steven E. Jones, Carl Stahmer