Shelley in Edinburgh

I live in a city built on books.

It comes with many glorious perks.

But how did I only find out today, exactly 7 years and 3 months after I arrived, that Percy Bysshe Shelly shacked up with an under-age minor [with whom he was eloping], a certain Harriet Westbrooke, in a flat on George Street?

I’ll never look at the current resident’s [a hairdresser] door the same way again.

It’s next to the Assembly Rooms [the hot party spot of the time], and I am not a bit surprised.

I can only bemoan the fact that high school English would have been so much more fun if they’d kept in the drama.

How sordid! How fascinating!

He is, in fact, the only Romantic poet I actually remember from my studies and not because I adored deconstructing Ode to a Skylark for three weeks or because he was married to the author of Frankenstein, but because he drowned tragically. And his dead body was burned on a pyre in Italy. Legend says that a friend snatched his heart from the decomposing body before it went up in flames.

I admit it, I am a sucker for wildly ridiculous and passionate drama.  It’s a wonder I don’t read the tabloids and watch Hollyoaks.

2 Responses to “Shelley in Edinburgh”
  1. Ooo I did not know that. I’m going to end up glancing oddly at that hairdressers next time I walk down George St.


  2. College classes were SO much more interesting in large part b/c the backstory like that wasn’t edited out… 🙂


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