The Shelley Chronology

The Percy Bysshe Shelley Chronology

The Percy Bysshe Shelley Chronology is a hypertext chronology of important dates in the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is designed to function both as a stand-alone resource and in conjunction with The Romantic Chronology at UC Santa Barbara. When not otherwise specified, all dates in the chronology are from the "Updated Edition" of Percy Bysshe Shelley by Donald H. Reiman, to whom this chronology's creator is gratefully indebted for his continued guidance and support in its ongoing development. The most specific dates possible have been given for each event in the chronology; however, it is not always possible to precisely date the occurrence of particular events. In such cases, the order of events as they appear in the chronology reflects the order of occurrence but the space which would normally contain a day and/or month reference for the event has been left blank.

The Shelley Chronology is developing resource. At present, the chronology contains reference links only to those events for which dates are in dispute or difficult to state with certainty. I hope, over time, to add a reference link for each event in the chronology. I plan also, in the immediate future, to add Shelley's reading to the chronology. Please send comments and suggestions to Carl Stahmer at

The image associated with this resource was designed by Kumbhel Balde. It includes elements from Percy Bysshe Shelley, by Alfred Clint (died 1883), which was posted at the Wikimedia Commons.

|1789 |1792 |1793 |1794 |1796 |1797 |1798 |1799 |1800 |1801 |1802 |
|1803 |1804 |1805 |1806 |1807 |1808 |1809 |1810 |1811 |1812 |1813 |
|1814 |1815 |1816 |1817 |1818 |1819 |1820 |1821 |1822 |1823 |1824 |

(View References)

1789 14 July Storming of the Bastille in Paris.
1792 4 Aug Percy Bysshe Shelley (PBS) born at Field Place, Warnham, near Horsham, West Sussex, the eldest child of Timothy Shelley, M.P., and Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley, and eldest grandchild of (Percy) Bysshe Shelley, a wealthy landowner.
1793 January Execution of King Louis XVI .
February France declares war on England and Holland.
May Reign of Terror (May 1793-July 1794).
October Execution of Marie-Antoinette.
1794 May Habeas Corpus suspended in England (also in August 1799, April 1801, and 1803).
Oct.-Dec. London treason trials of Horne, Tooke, Hardy, and others, with their acquittals.
1796   Napoleon Bonaparte leads French army into Italy and defeats Austrians.
1797 29 Mar. William Godwin marries Mary Wollstonecraft.
30 Aug. Mary Wollstonecraft gives birth to Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley-MWS).
10 Sept. Mary Wollstonecraft dies.
17 Oct Bonaparte imposes Treaty of Campo Formio on Austria.
1798   PBS studies with local clergyman, the Reverend Evan ("Taffy") Edwards.
Feb.-Oct. The Irish Rebellion.
1 Aug. Nelson destroys French fleet at Battle ofthe Nile.
1799 October Napoleon returns to France--becomes first consul in November.
1800 Spring Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
14 June Napoleon defeats Austrians at Marengo.
1801 February William Pitt ousted.
March Addington administration.
April Nelson bombards Copenhagen and destroys neutral Danish fleet to prevent it from falling into French Hands.
1802   PBS begins boarding school at Syon House Academy, Isleworth, on the Great Western Road in Thames Valley.
March Peace of Amiens between England and France.
August Napoleon's title of First Consul (1799) extended for life.
October French invade Switzerland.
1803 May Renewal of war between France and England.
1804 May Napoleon declared Emperor of France.
  Second Pitt administration begins.
September PBS begins studies at Eton (continues through spring of 1810).
1805 May Napoleon crowned King of Italy.
October Nelson's victory (and death) at Trafalgar balances Napoleon's defeat of the Austrians at Ulm the same mont and of both the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz in December.
1806   Earliest possible year for any of PBS's poems in The Esdaile Notebook (latest written 1813).
January Pitt's death.
February National unity "Ministry of All the Talents."
June Abolition of slave trade.
  Bysshe Shelley created Sir Bysshe Shelley, baronet.
September Charles James Fox dies.
October Napoleon crushes Prussians at Jena-Auerstädt.
1807 March Duke of Portland's coalition administration begins.
June Napoleon defeats Russians at Friedland.
July Napoleon and Czar Alexander sign Treaty of Tilsit.
1808   PBS begins corresponding with his Wiltshire cousin Harriet Grove (their "engagement" ends in 1810).
August British under Wellesley open Peninsular Campaign with victory at Vimera, but sign away advantages to French in Convention of Cintra (August 30).
1809   PBS writes five or six poems in The Esdaile Notebook.
October Spencer Perceval, a Tory, becomes Prime Minister.
1810 Spring PBS's Gothic novel Zastrozzi published.
30 July PBS concludes his studies at Eaton.
Sept./Oct. PBS and his sister Elizabeth's Original Poetry by "Victor" and "Cazire" published and withdrawn.
10 Oct. PBS begins studies at University College, Oxford, where he meets Thomas Jefferson Hogg shortly thereafter.
November PBS's Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson published.
December St. Irvyne, PBS's second Gothic novel, published.
1811 January PBS meets Harriet Westbrook.
?February PBS and Hogg write The Necessity of Atheism.
25 Mar. PBS and Hogg expelled from University College for refusing to answere questions about the authorship of The Necessity of Atheism.
25 Aug. PBS and Harriet Westbrook elope and are married in Edinburgh on 29 August.
October The Shelley's arrive at York, where Hogg tries to seduce Harriet.
November Shelleys move to Keswick and are befriended by Southey.
1812 February Early in the month, the Shelleys travel to Dublin.
  In Dublin, PBS publishes two pamphlets, Address to the Irish People and Proposals for an Association of . . .Philanthropists.
  Declaration of Rights printed.
6 Apr. Shelleys return to Wales.
May Spencer Perceval assassinated by an insane bankrupt--succeeded as Tory Prime Minister by Robert Banks Jenkins, 2nd Earl of Loverpool (who serves till his death in 1827).
June Shelleys move to Lynmouth, Devon, where PBS writes Letter to Lord Ellenborough.
  Napoleon invades Russia.
September Shelleys, joined by Elizabeth Hitchener in July, go to Tremadoc, North Wales.
  Napoleon wins Battle of Borodino and captures Moscow.
29 Sept. Sometime after this date, Shelleys and Hitchener go to London.
4 Oct. PBS meets William Godwin in London.
October Moscow is burned and French begin disastrous retreat, which continues during one of the coldest winters in European history.
November Mid-month, Shelleys, without Hitchener, return to Tremadoc.
1813   Napoleon tries unsuccessfully to defeat the Allies in Germany, with major battles at Dresden in August and Leipzig in October.
27 Feb. Shelleys flee Tremadoc and go to Ireland to recover manuscript of The Esdaile Notebook from printer there.
5 Apr. Shelleys return to London.
May Queen Mab issued.
23 June Ianthe Shelley born.
July Shelleys at Bracknell, with Newton-Boinville circle.
1814 January+ Early in the month, the Allies begin their invasion of France.
Jan. or Feb. PBS publishes A Refutation of Deism.
31 Mar. Allies capture Paris.
3 Apr. Napoleon deposed and then abdicates (4-6 April).
6 Apr. Louis XVIII proclaimed king.
27 July PBS and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (MWS) elope to war-ravaged France, accompanied by MWS's step-sister, Mary Jane (later "Claire") Clairmont (born ?April 27, 1798), after which they quickly remove to Switzerland.
13 Sept. From Switzerland they return to England, after journey down Rhine.
September Congress of Vienna convenes (continues, with interruptions, till June 1815).
30 Nov. PBS's first son, Charles, born to Harriet.
1815 5 Jan. Sir Bysshe Shelley dies. During the subsequent 18 months, PBS is involved in negotiations with his father over the settlement of the will, ultimately receiving money to pay his debts (some cash he diverts to Godwin), as well as an annual income of 1,000 pounds (200 earmarked for Harriet; later 120 for her children).
January PBS involved with George Cannon and Theological Inquirer.
Jan.-Apr. PBS, MWS, Claire Clairmont, and Hogg engage in free-love experiment.
?22 Feb. MWS's first child (a daughter) born prematurely--dies on March 6.
Feb./Mar. Napoleon returns to rule France for the Hundred Days in March through June.
18 June Waterloo.
August PBS and MWS settle near Bishopsgate.
September Shelleys travel by boat up the Thames with Peacock and Charles Clairmont.
Autumn/Winter PBS writes Alastor.
1816 24 Jan. William Shelley born.
February Alastor . . .and Other Poems published.
25 Apr. Byron leaves England.
May Princess Charlotte, only legitimate child of the Prince Regent (later George IV), marries Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.
  PBS, MWS, and Claire Clairmont leave England for Geneva (arrive mid-May) and remain near Byron till August 29.
June PBS tours Lake Leman with Byron and writes "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty."
July Shelleys visit Mont Blanc and PBS writes "Mont Blanc."
8 Sept. Shelleys reach Portsmouth, after which they settle at Bath.
9 Oct. Fanny Imlay (MWS's half-sister) commits suicide in Wales.
2 Dec. A year of social unrest caused by unemployment, bad harvests, and food shortages culminates in Spa Fields Riot.
  Harriet Shelley drowns herself (her body found December 10).
30 Dec. PBS and MWS marry.
1817 12 Jan. Allegra Byron, Claire's daughter, born at Bath.
5 Feb. PBS meets Keats and Reynolds at supper with Leigh Hunt.
23 Feb. PBS, MWS, William, and Claire Clairmont travel to Marlow.
4 Mar. Habeas Corpus suspended (till February 1818), after which opposition journalists flee or are imprisoned.
circa 14 Mar. PBS's Proposal for Putting Reform to the Vote published.
27 Mar. Chancery Court denies PBS custody of his children (by Harriet) Ianthe and Charles.
28 Mar. Shelleys spend first night in Albion House, their permanent home while at Marlow.
?Mar.-Sept. PBS writes Laon and Cythna.
2 Sept. Clara Shelley born.
?Sept.-Dec. PBS drafts "Essay on Christianity."
?Oct.-Nov. Laon and Cythna printed.
?Nov./Dec. History of a Six Weeks' Tour by MWS and PBS published.
6 Nov. Princess Charlotte dies in Childbirth.
11-12 Nov. PBS writes (and perhaps publishes soon after) An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte.
December Revised version of Laon and Cythna published as The Revolt of Islam (dated 1818).
  MWS's Frankenstein published (dated 1818).
  David Booth and W.T. Baxter break with the Shelleys.
1818 ?January PBS begins Rosalind and Helen.
12 Mar. After spending time in London, PBS and MWS leave for the Continent, accompanied by Claire Clairmont, three children, and two female servants--Amelia (Milly) Shields and Louise (Elise) Duvillard.
4 Apr. Shelley party reaches Milan April 4, visit the Italian lakes, send Allegra, with Elise, to Byron April 28, visit Pisa Livorno (Leghorn), and meet the Gisbornes in May.
June Shelleys move to Bagni di (Baths of) Lucca, where PBS translates Plato's Symposium, writes "On Love," and completes Rosalind and Helen.
17 Aug. PBS and Claire depart for Venice with hopes of convincing Byron to allow Claire to see Allegra.
27 Aug. The day after arriving in Venice, PBS visits Byron; sends letter to MWS summoning her and the children (with Milly and new servant, Paolo Foggi).
  PBS settles at Este and begins Prometheus Unbound.
24 Sept. Little Clara Shelley dies.
?Sept.-11 Oct. PBS's depression reflected in "Euganean Hills" and beginning of "Julian and Maddalo."
12-31 Oct. Shelleys visit Venice.
Nov.-1 Dec. Shelleys travel to Rome and Naples, remaining in Naples till February 28, 1819, with excursions to Vesuvius, Paestum, etc.
1819 5 Mar. Shelleys reach Rome.
Mar.-May PBS drafts Acts II-III of Prometheus.
7 June William Shelley dies.
10 June Shelleys flee to Livorno, where MWS remains in depression, while PBS writes The Cenci in summer (printed in Italy, it is sent to England for publication in 1820).
16 Aug. "Peterloo Massacre."
September News of "Peterloo Massacre" provokes PBS to write Mask of Anarchy.
2 Oct. Shelleys move to Firenze (Florence), where son Percy Florence Shelley is born November 12 and where PBS finishes Prometheus (published August 1820).
Oct.-Nov. PBS writes "West Wind" and "Peter Bell the Third."
?Dec.-Jan. PBS drafts "A Philosophical View of Reform."
Dec./Jan. Parliament fears revolution and passes the "Six Acts" to repress dissent.
1820 January George III dies and George IV succeeds.
January Spanish army revolts.
26 Jan. Shelleys move to Pisa.
February Cato Street conspiracy to Kill the English ministry foiled (leaders executed 1 May).
March PBS writes "Sensitive Plant."
  PBS writes "Ode to Liberty," and "Sky-lark."
  Constitutional monarchy established in Spain.
June-Aug. Shelleys in England--live in Gisbornes's house at Livorno.
ff. 16 June PBS writes "Letter to Maria Gisborne."
July Constitutional revolution in Naples in July.
July Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of George IV, returns from Italy to England to claim her rights as queen; she is "tried" by House of Lords (August-November) but becomes a rallying point for the opposition.
August Prometheus Unbound published.
Aug.-Oct. At Bagni di San Giuliano (Bagni di Pisa), PBS writes "Witch of Atlas," "Ode to Naples," and Swellfoot the Tyrant (the last published and suppressed in November or December).
20 Oct. Claire Clairmont moves to Firenze.
October At end of month, flood forces Shelleys (with Medwin) to return to Pisa.
November Shelleys meet Teresa ("Emilia") Viviani.
2 Dec. Shelleys meet Mavrocordato.
1821 Jan.-Feb. PBS visits Teresa Viviani and writes Epipsychidion.
13 Jan. Shelleys meet Edward and Jane Williams who have recently arrived in Pisa.
Feb.-Mar. PBS writes "A Defence of Poetry."
March Austrians crush Neapolitan liberals and restore hegemony throughout Italy.
March Greeks in Morea rise against Turkish rule.
April Expatriate Greeks from Russia invade Turkish provinces.
11 Apr. A letter from London informs PBS of Keats's death (Rome, February 23).
May Early in the month, Williamses move to Pugnano, Shelleys to Bagni di San Giuliano, both on the River Serchio; Epipsychidion published anonymously.
May/June PBS writes Adonais (printed July).
August PBS visits Byron at Ravenna and urges him and the Gambas to move to Pisa.
August Gambas arrive in Pisa.
Oct.-Nov. PBS writes Hellas.
1 Nov. Byron arrives in Pisa.
1822 ?January PBS works on "Charles the First."
14 Jan. Edward John Trelawny arrives in Pisa.
  "Pisan Circle," centered on Byron and PBS, plans theatricals.
February Hellas published.
20 Apr. Allegra Byron dies.
30 Apr. Shelleys and Williamses move to San Terenzo, on Bay of Lerici.
12 May PBS's boat, the Don Juan, arrives.
+ 20 May PBS writes "The Triumph of Life."
16 June MWS miscarries.
1 July PBS and Williams sail to Leghorn to meet Hunts.
8 July PBS and Williams begin return voyage from Leghorn.
19 July Trelawny identifies two bodies, one near Via Reggio and the other three miles down the shore at Lericcio, as those of PBS and Williams.
  Bodies temporarily buried.
13 Aug. Williams's body cremated.
14 Aug. PBS's body cremated.
September+ MWS and Hunts live together and near Byron at Albaro, outside Genoa (through July 1823).
1823 July MWS returns to England.
1824 June MWS's edition of PBS's Posthumous Poems published.
September Posthumous Poems suppressed at insistence of Sir Timothy Shelley.

If you have questions or comments about The Shelley Chronology or would like to suggest an addition or correction, please contact Carl Stahmer at

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