(Image above from the NYPL Digital Gallery.)
On this day in 1792, Percy Bysshe Shelley — enfant terrible of English Romanticism and husband of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley — was born in Sussex, England.
Shelley was a hippie before hippies, a vegetarian before it became a fad, a soul-searching atheist, a free lover who left a small but deep trail of broken hearts, and one who cared acutely (though a bit naively, being born into landed gentry) for the working class during the cruel early years of the Industrial Revolution. And, as you can see above, he was an unrelenting doodler: spirited, haunting sketches rim the pages and margins of his many notebooks.
Next February, the NYPL, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library of Oxford, will mount an exhibition exploring his life and work entitled Shelley’s Ghost. Until then, we give you a leaf from an 1813 edition of his first major poem Queen Mab, marked with Shelley’s own revisions.
Happy birthday, Bysshe!