Shelley was born in Sussex in 1792. Educated at Eton and University College, Oxfort, Shelley was eventually expelled from university for circulating a pamphlet he had co-written, “The necessity of atheism”.
In 1811 he married the sixteen year old Harriet Westbrook causing a permanent schism with his father.
However, their marriage soon collapsed and Shelley ran abroad with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, famouse feministe) and her stepsister Claire Clairmont. During this period Shelley wrote two famous philosophical poems influenced by Wordsworth.
In 1816 Harriet drowned herself in Hyde Park and Shelley immediately married Mary.
The couple moved to Italy permanently in 1818, living first in Lucca, then in Venice and Este.
1819-1820 was Shelley’s most productive period. He wrote a number of major poems inspired by political events in England, including “England in 1819”. This relatively calm was not to last. Mary at their beach house in Lerici had a miscarriage, and finally, Shelley drowned when his boat (the Ariel) went down in a storme in the bay of Spezia.