of na­ture. They also favoured the chaos of the me­dieval pe­riod over the or­der of the Clas­si­cal an­cient times, which had been in­spir­ing the neo­clas­si­cal artists of the mid-18th cen­tury.

While Mary’s mother had kept com­pany with the early Ro­man­tic po­ets – in­clud­ing

Songs of In­no­cence and Ex­pe­ri­ence writer Wil­liam Blake – Mary her­self fell in with the later crowd, of which Lord By­ron and Percy Bysshe Shelley (along with John Keats) were the lead­ers of the pack. Her hus­band Shelley was an ex­cit­ing poet, con­cerned with pol­i­tics and rev­o­lu­tion, and he con­jured great im­ages of fire and cli­mac­tic events in epic po­ems such as Queen Mab and Ode to the West

Wind. By­ron, on the other hand, had a more witty, satiric style, and at the time was known as the ‘gloomy ego­ist’ who found al­most in­stant fame with the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal poem Childe Harold’s

Pil­grim­age, part of which Mary ac­tu­ally tran­scribed for him. It is un­de­ni­able that Mary found her­self in­flu­enced by these two pow­er­ful po­ets, and she in­flu­enced them in re­turn. Bri­tain’s Ro­man­tic writ­ers, of whom Mary Shelley was a key player, would not have re­ferred to them­selves as ‘Ro­man­tic’ – that name did not ap­pear un­til the mid-1800s. How­ever, it is a very apt de­scrip­tion of what they did – they ro­man­ti­cised. Quite gen­er­ally speak­ing, they looked back to days gone by – be­fore the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion pulled the lower classes out of the countryside and into over­crowded cities – while mar­vel­ling at the mys­ter­ies

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