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

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Synopsis

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 January 1, 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Young Romantics

Publishers Weekly

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Long before the lost generation or '60s rock poets, there was a 19th-century movable feast of interlinked English poets and thinkers that was even more fascinating and combustible. Cambridge P

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

The New York Times

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This group biography of Byron, Shelley and their circle — the women and children suffered mightily — is a triumph of artful synthesis.

Jul 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Guardian

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Her terrifying (for the times) unconventionality, her feminism, and her suicidal impulses lived on in both her daughters, Fanny Imlay and Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), and, more strikingly, in their stepsister, Claire Clairmont (Claire's mother married Wollstonecraft's widower, William Godwin...

Apr 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Guardian

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This particular genesis myth – the one about Byron challenging them all to write ghost stories and Mary not sure if she could come up with anything – was set out in the preface to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein and has become almost as famous as the book itself.

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

New York Journal of Books

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Little is done to untangle the lives of the young Romantic poets and their inner circles in Daisy Hay’s rambling, unfocused 364-page perambulation that reads more like a doctoral thesis (with almost 20 pages of footnotes!) than an entertaining read about “English poetry’s greatest generation.”.

Apr 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Washington Times

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Consider Daisy Hay's rehash of the interwoven lives of poignant Romantic era poets a pre-Victorian "Desperate Housewives" with a mild dose of incest. Turns out that diabolical combination makes for a great read.

Jul 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Independent

Hay centralises her as the catalyst who brought and kept Byron and Shelley together.

May 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

The Independent

Forward to 2010, and a British tabloid report on Daisy Hay's discovery of Clairmont's memoir is headlined, "Lord Byron and Shelley branded 'monsters'...

May 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

Scotsman.com

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May 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

Lancashire Evening Post

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Jul 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Young Romantics: The Tangled ...

Reader Rating for Young Romantics
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