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Percy Bysshe Shelley Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

When he was nineteen, Shelley wrote a pamphlet entitled "Declaration of Rights." To get the missive out to as many people as possible, he bottled some of the copies and tossed them in the sea. Others he launched via balloons.16

As a student at Eton, Shelley sometimes engaged in the decidedly un-Romantic pastime of setting trees on fire using sunlight and glass.17

Shelley was said to have hunched posture and a narrow chest as a result of a lifetime of bending over books.18

Shelley was a vegetarian.19

When Shelley fell in love with Mary Godwin, he suggested to his current wife Harriet Westbrook that the three of them live together, with Mary as his new wife and Harriet as his sister. Harriet didn't go for that. We can't imagine why.20

Shelley could be a bit absent-minded. If he couldn't remember whether he'd eaten that day, he'd call out to his wife, "Mary, have I dined?" When he did bother to eat he usually did it standing up, while reading a book.21

Shelley's body was identified when it washed ashore by the copy of Keats' Lamia that he carried in his pocket.22

When Percy Bysshe Shelley was cremated, his heart would not burn, possibly because of a health condition that caused its calcification. His friend Edward Trelawny removed it from the fire and gave it to Mary Shelley. Legend has it she kept the crumbled remains in her desk.23 The remains of the heart were buried with Shelley's son, Percy Florence.24

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