Shelley in Italy: the background to “Ode to the West Wind” – Monday 21 December

Monday 21 December

With Professor Gregory Dowling

10% of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Keats-Shelley House museum in Rome.

Percy Bysshe Shelley spent the last four years of his life in Italy (1818-1822, and it was in these years that most of his greatest poetry was written. This lecture will provide an overview of these highly productive years, examining his often troubled but always stimulating relationship with Lord Byron.

We will focus on one major poem, “Ode to the West Wind”, seeing it within the context of his personal and family life, and also against the political upheavals of the time. We will also see how this poem is related to Shelley’s greatest long work, Prometheus Unbound, much of which was written in Rome, in the Baths of Caracalla – a circumstance that spurred the artist Joseph Severn, after Shelley’s death, to compose his well-known painting of the poet at work in the ruins.


Our Biographies series of lectures offer an in-depth look at the life and works of artists from experts in the field.

Our experts will provide new insights into the artists' best-known works while also drawing attention to others that might be less familiar. Each presentation will be accompanied by carefully chosen visual supports, in the form of high definition photos and videos. 

Your Lecturer

Prof Gregory Dowling

Gregory Dowling is Associate Professor of American Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He has written numerous articles on Venice, and was responsible for the sightseeing pages of the first five editions of the Time Out Guide to Venice. He is a member of the directorial board for a new museum in Ravenna devoted to Lord Byron, which will open in 2020. He is also the author of the "Alvise Marangon" historical thriller novels set in Venice and a regular lecturer at the “Circolo Italo-Britannico” in Venice.

Event Details

Date: 21 December 2020

Start time: 06:00 p.m. BST

End time: 07:30 p.m. BST

Venue: Zoom Webinar


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