Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Triumph of Life

Mark Sandy (University of Durham)
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At Casa Magni in Lerici, in early summer 1822, Shelley started composition of his final major poem,

The Triumph of Life

, fashioned after Dante's

Divine Comedy

and Petrarch's


. Written in

terza rima

Shelley's last work was never completed, as he was accidental drowned, along with Edward Williams, in a squall on 8 July, during their return voyage from Leghorn. Stressing the significance of this poetical fragment, Mary Shelley included the first published version of

The Triumph of Life

in her edition of Shelley's

Posthumous Poems


Shelley's unfinished fragment is characterised by ontological and epistemological speculation about the nature of being and reality. Within the fragment's Dantean dream framework, these philosophical anxieties are evident in Shelley's ambivalent

1261 words

Citation: Sandy, Mark. "The Triumph of Life". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

7981 The Triumph of Life 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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