P.S. Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley's Diary
"…those that love cannot separate.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was a teenager when she ran away with Percy Bysshe Shelley—the notorious, radical poet. The two made their way to Paris where they bought a green notebook. It would, they decided, record their life together.
Mary and Percy were in love, but they were also in trouble. For starters, Percy was already married. Also, he was a vocal atheist and anarchist. In fact, Oxford expelled him for his beliefs. He claimed that ‘‘love is free” and felt we should disregard institutions like marriage. Shelley’s father was furious that his son abandoned his first wife. Mary’s father, William Godwin, was an anarchist himself, but he was still angry that the married poet seduced his daughter.1
So Shelley, barely over 20, found himself financially cut off and saddled with debt. The two young lovers needed to escape Shelley’s creditors. So they went to France.
Mary and Shelley’s diary records their blossoming love and their badly-behaved group of friends. Join me on a deeper dive into one of literary history’s most remarkable marriages.
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