Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias

(1063 words)

In early 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Horace Smith conceived a friendly sonnet-writing competition: who could write the best sonnet on King Ramses II? Smith, a successful stockbroker, was managing Shelley’s finances at the time, and Shelley knew him to be a poet as well. The friends each published a sonnet entitled “Ozymandias” in The Examiner: Shelley’s appeared on January 11, under the pen name Glirastes, and Smith’s on February 1. Literary history has declared Shelley the winner. Shelley’s sonnet is consistently anthologized, while Smith is usually referenced only in relation to Shelley. Shelley published a revised version of his sonnet in the Rosalind and Helen volume in 1819, and Smith …

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Reno, Seth. "Ozymandias". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2012
[, accessed 26 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. English Romanticism
  2. The Sonnet Tradition