Marymount Talks are a series of cultural and education-related discussions that are led by eminent authors and guest speakers in a variety of fields for the Marymount community.
200 years ago last July, a summer storm raged across the west coast of Italy, centering on Livorno. Out on the wild waves, a solitary boat, the schooner 'Don Juan', struggled desperately against the power of the elements. Overwhelmed by water, the ship sank fast, taking the three men on board into the deep. One of them was Percy Bysshe Shelley, self-proclaimed 'atheist, democrat, and philanthropist', but known today as one of the greatest Romantic poets. When his body washed ashore some ten days later, he was found to have hurriedly stuffed a copy of his friend Keats' poems into his pocket before abandoning ship. Keats himself had died in Rome, just next to the Spanish Steps, the year before. Another poet friend, Lord Byron, who waited anxiously for his return that day, was to die not two years later in Greece. The works of these fatal Englishmen helped forge the shape of political ideas, cultural imagination, and understandings of the self even up to our own day.
To mark this important anniversary, Dr Paul Whickman will talk to us about the poet Shelley and explain why his radical political and religious ideas led to his virtual exile from England. In particular he will discuss two of his key works, 'Ode to the West Wind' and 'Mont Blanc'. Dr Whickman is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Derby and the author of 'Blasphemy and Politics in Romantic Literature: Creativity in the Writing of Percy Bysshe Shelley'.
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