Bizarre Deaths: Percy Shelley

Bizarre Deaths
by Guy Portman

Percy Shelley 


(August 4th 1792 – July 8th 1822)

Notable works: Ozymandrias, Music, The Cloud, Queen Mab

The husband of Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English Romantic poet.  Shelley did not achieve fame during his short lifetime, in part because publishers were reluctant to publish his work, due to his radical political and social views.  Today he is regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets of the English language.

The talented poet met his premature end when he drowned in a storm while sailing off the coast of Italy.  There has been much speculation over the exact cause of his death, with theories ranging from murder to suicide.

Events were to take a bizarre turn when Shelley’s washed-up body was cremated on the beach.  The poet’s heart refused to burn, probably due to a heart condition that had caused it to calcify.  Edward Trelawny, a friend of the deceased, removed the heart from the fire and gave it to Mary Shelley.  What happened next is much debated, with some claiming that the poet’s wife kept the crumbling remains in her desk.  The heart was later buried alongside her son, Percy Florence.



Guy Portman is a writer currently residing in London, the city of his birth.  Guy’s next book, Necropolis, is a work of dark fiction about a psychopath, who is employed at his local council’s Burials and Cemeteries department.  Necropolis is due for release in late April 2014. For more info on Guy, go to:

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