May 21, 2016


“The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts

“What does the brain matter compared with the heart?”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“When the body escaped mutilation, seldom did the heart go to the grave unscarred.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.”
~  Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

“Once she knows how to read there's only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Monday or Tuesday

“There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, 'Consume me'.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

“I need silence, and to be alone and to go out, and to save one hour to consider what has happened to my world, what death has done to my world.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

“A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
~  Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

“He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

“The taste for books was an early one. As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Orlando

 “She had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.”
~  Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

“Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Waves

 “The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess. After all, what laws can be laid down about books? The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions-there we have none.”
~  Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader

“Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty-five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

“I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky. too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would be impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile.”
~  Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

May 10, 2016

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Major English Romantic poet and one of the greatest lyric poets in the history of English literature.


  • Full Name: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • AKA: P.B. Shelley
  • Date of Birth: August 4, 1792
  • Place of Birth: Field Place, Horsham, Sussex, England
  • Zodiac Sign: Leo
  • Death: July 8, 1822
  • Place of Death: Lerici, Kingdom of Sardinia
  • Cause of Death: Drowning
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial:
1. Protestant Cemetery, Rome (Ashes)
2. St Peter's Churchyard, Bournemouth, Dorset, England (Heart)
  • Epitaph:
“Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
  • Father: Timothy Shelley (1753-1844)
  • Mother: Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley (1763-1846)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Elizabeth Shelley (?-1831)
2. Sister- Mary Shelley (?-?)
3. Sister- Hellen Shelley (?-1885)
4. Sister- Margaret Shelley (?-1887)
5. Sister- Name unknown (died in infancy)
6. Brother- John Shelley (1806-1866)
  • Spouses & Children:
1. Harriet Westbrook (b. 1795- d. 1816; m. 1811 to until her demise)
1. Daughter: Ianthe Shelley (1813-1876)
2. Son: Charles Shelley (1814-1826)
2. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley (b. 1797-d. 1851; m. 1816 to until his death)
1. Daughter: Clara Shelley (1813)
2. Son: William Shelley (1816-1819)
3. Daughter: Clara Everina Shelley (1817-1818)
4. Son: Percy Florence Shelley (1819-1888)
  • Alma Mater: Eton College; University College, Oxford
  • Known for: his lyrical and imaginative powers
  • Criticized for: being over-sensitive and over-sad
  • Influences: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 –1778), Dr. James Lind (1736-1812), Thomas Paine (1737–1809), William Godwin (1756 –1836), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 –1797), and William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
  • Influenced: Robert Browning (1812–1889), Henry David Thoreau (1817 –1862), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Leo Tolstoy (1828 –1910), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882), Thomas Hardy (1840 –1928), Oscar Wilde (1854 –1900), George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), Rabindranath Tagor (1861 –1941), W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), Mahatma Gandhi (1869 –1948), Bertrand Russell (1872 –1970), Upton Sinclair (1878 –1968), Isadora Duncan (1877–1927), and Jibanananda Das (1899 –1954)


“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Major Themes

  • Love and freedom
  • Idealism
  • Nature
  • Atheism
  • Injustice
  • Revolution
  • Inspiration
  • Narcissism
  • Immortality vs. Mortality

Notable Works

  • Ozymandias
  • The Revolt of Islam
  • Adonaïs
  • Ode to the West Wind
  • Music, To a Skylark
  • The Cloud
  • The Mask of Anarchy
  • When Soft Voices Die
  • Alastor
  • Queen Mab
  • The Triumph of Life
  • Prometheus Unbound
  • The Cenci
  • A Bridal Song
  • A Hate Song
  • A Dialogue
  • A Lament
  • A Serpent Face
  • A Fragment: To Music
  • A Dirge
  • A New National Anthem
  • Alas! This is not What I thought Life Was
  • The Assassins, A Fragment of a Romance
  • The Elysian Fields: A Lucianic Fragment
  • The Coliseum, A Fragment
  • Una Favola (A Fable)
  • Zastorri (1810)
  • St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian in (1811)

Did You Know?

  • Shelley was the first of seven survived children born to Sir Timothy Shelley and Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley.
  • His father was a Whig Parliamentarian.
  • In March 25, 1811 Shelley was expelled from Oxford University because he refused to deny the authorship of a pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism.
  • When he was 19, Shelley used to write political pamphlets, often sending them out in bottles or homemade paper boats over the water, or inside fire balloons into the sky.
  • In 1818 Shelley eloped to Scotland with sixteen year-old Harriet Westbrook and married her despite the fact that he did not love her and disliked the concept of marriage.
  • When his father learnt about Shelley’s marriage, he temporarily cut off Shelley’s monetary allowance.
  • Shelley was increasingly unhappy in his marriage and once accused Harriet of having married him for his money.
  • His marriage collapsed when Shelley fell in love with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the daughter of William Godwin.
  • Having fallen in love with Mary, Shelley proposed to Harriet that the three of them should live together, Mary as his new wife and Harriet as her sister. Harriet, however, discarded his proposal.
  • Subsequently Shelley eloped with Mary and impregnated her. Harriet, who was too pregnant, was greatly shocked by the news of Mary’s pregnancy. Realizing that Shelley did not love her, Harriet requested a divorce and sued Shelley for alimony and full custody of their children.
  • Harriet’s second child with Shelley, Charles, was born in November of 1814. Three months later, Mary gave birth to a girl, the infant, however, died just a few weeks later.
  • Mary and Shelley returned to London near the end of 1816. Few weeks later Harriet's body was found drowned in Hyde Park's Serpentine. It is assumed that she committed suicide firstly because she was deserted by Shelley and secondly because she was pregnant from an illicit affair with a military officer.
  • Soon after Harriet’s death, Shelley proposed to Mary and they were wedded on December 30, 1816.
  • After Harriet’s death, the courts ruled not to give Shelley custody of their children, asserting that they would be better off with foster parents.
  • Shortly before his 30th birthday, Shelley was drowned in a storm while attempting to sail from Livorno to Le Spezia, Italy.
  • Ten days later, his body was washed ashore but his face and hands had been completely eaten away. Shelley was identifiable only by his clothes, and a copy of Keats’ Lamia in his pocket.
  • To fulfill the Italian quarantine regulations, Shelley’s body was buried in the sand where it was found. A month later his body was dug up again and cremated on a Tuscany beach in July 18, 1822, in the presence of Lord Byron and Shelley’s friends Edward Trelawney and Leigh Hunt. Since Shelley’s heart refused to burn, Trelawney picked it from the ashes and gave it to Hunt. Later on, Hunt handed over it to Mary, who kept it until her demise.
  • Shelley's ashes were stored for several months in the British Consul's wine cellar in Rome before eventually being buried in the Protestant Cemetery.
  • When Mary Shelley died in 1851 her husband's heart was found amongst her belongings. The heart was buried in 1889, 67 years after Shelley's death, with the body of his son Sir Percy Florence Shelley.
  • In 1889, the French painter Louis Édouard Fournier painted The Funeral of Shelley depicting the cremation scene of Shelley’s body.
  • Shelley was a vegetarian and wrote many pamphlets on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
  • Most of his major works were written in the last four years before his demise.
  • During his lifetime Shelley did not earn any money from his writings.
  • When first written in 1817, his long narrative poem The Revolt of Islam (1818) was named as Laon and Cythna.
  • His wife, Mary Shelley was the author of the Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818).
  • Although Shelley’s death was a clear case of accident, many believe that he committed suicide due to his inner torments.
  • Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience and Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance were influenced and inspired by Shelley's nonviolence in protest and political action.


" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Academy of American Poets. 2016. Academy of American Poets. 21 April 2016

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Poetry Foundation. 2016. Poetry Foundation. 21 April 2016

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Literary Devices. 2016. Literary Devices. 21 April 2016

"Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Neurotic Poets. 2016. Neurotic Poets Web Site. 21 April 2016

" Percy Bysshe Shelley.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University Inc. 21 April 2016

" Percy Bysshe Shelley Biography.” The website. 2016. A&E Television Networks. 21 April 2016

" The Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley.” History in an Hour. 2016. History in an Hour. 21 April 2016

 “Percy Bysshe Shelley” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

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