Young Romantics by Daisy Hay
The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation

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Young Romantics tells the story of the interlinked lives of the young English Romantic poets from an entirely fresh perspective—celebrating their extreme youth and outsize yearning for friendship as well as their individuality and political radicalism.

 The book focuses on the network of writers and readers who gathered around Percy Bysshe Shelley and the campaigning journalist Leigh Hunt. They included Lord Byron, John Keats, and Mary Shelley, as well as a host of fascinating lesser-known figures: Mary Shelley’s stepsister and Byron’s mistress, Claire Clairmont; Hunt’s botanist sister-in-law, Elizabeth Kent; the musician Vincent Novello; the painters Benjamin Haydon and Joseph Severn; and writers such as Charles and Mary Lamb, Thomas Love Peacock, and William Hazlitt. They were characterized by talent, idealism, and youthful ardor, and these qualities shaped and informed their politically oppositional stances—as did their chaotic family arrangements, which often left the young women, despite their talents, facing the consequences of the men’s philosophies.

In Young Romantics, Daisy Hay follows the group’s exploits, from its inception in Hunt’s prison cell in 1813 to its disintegration after Shelley’s premature death in 1822. It is an enthralling tale of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and friendship, all of which were played out against a background of political turbulence and intense literary creativity.


About Daisy Hay

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Daisy Hay recently completed a doctorate in English literature at Cambridge. She lives in London. Young Romantics is her first book.
Published April 22, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 372 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Young Romantics

The Globe and Mail

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Daisy Hay's collective biography portrays Keats, Shelley, Byron and their circle as the self-indulgent, free-loving rock stars of their day

Jun 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Telegraph

Young Romantics: the Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives What struck her then – as Daisy Hay reveals in the Preface to her immensely accomplished first book – were the claims of the two friends who lie buried, respectively, beside Keats and Shelley.

May 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Telegraph

The aim of Daisy Hay’s energetically written and wide-ranging Young Romantics is to explore the intertwining of the Cockneys and the so-called Satanic School, which really meant Lord Byron and his sidekick Percy Shelley, who married Mary, the daughter of Godwin and Wollstonecraft.

May 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

Austin Chronicle

The sentimental interpretation of the Romantic poets as isolated, sui generis, and in torment was popularized by the 19th and 20th centuries' more hagiographic historians (and perpetuated by mopey English majors), but Hay's inquiry into the late-period Romantics (Shelley, Byron, Keats, et al.) pr...

May 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

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