Holmes on Shelley’s drowning
Biographer Richard Holmes recently published an article in The Guardian about the death of Shelley–or, rather, the legend of the death. Holmes says for example that
Biography is caught and frozen, so to speak, in the glamorous headlights of Shelley’s death. But if we set that death aside, if we switch off its hypnotic dazzle for a moment, maybe quite different patterns and trajectories can emerge from Shelley’s life.
On January 29, Holmes delivered the innaugural lecture in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Interrupted Lives” lecture series. An accompanying book will be published in the autumn. Inevitably, Holmes spends some time thinking about the boats involved, especially the doomed Don Juan. For another reading of the sailing skills of all those on the boat that day, see “On the Instability of Vessels and Narratives: A Nautical Perspective on the Sinking of the Don Juan” by Joseph Dane, Keats-Shelley Journal 47 (1998), 63-86.