NEW ACQUISITION FOR THE KEATS-SHELLEY HOUSE

December 16, 2015

The Keats-Shelley House is delighted to welcome a new addition to our museum and library collection in Rome. 

The book in question is a first edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Queen Mab; A Philosophical Poem; with Notes (London: printed for Thomas Hookham, 1813), which has been acquired with the help of a grant made by the Friends of the National Libraries.  

This copy of Shelley's first major published poetic work is one of just seventy copies to be distributed in a so-called ‘mutilated’ state and was handled by Shelley himself, who removed the politically radical work’s title page and dedication so as to conceal his own identity and save himself from prosecution.

In joining the collection of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, its personal connection to Shelley’s own hand immediately gives visitors to the House a visceral connection with the poet in a way that is comparable to John Keats’s copy of Tacitus, which was purchased last year, again with invaluable assistance from the Friends of the National Libraries. Moreover, the acquisition of this edition enhances the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association’s small but important collection of first editions of the works of the second generation Romantic poets. 

The quite unique nature of this edition also makes an invaluable resource to scholars working in the field of English Romantic literature. As the largest collection of books devoted to this period of English literature in Europe outside the UK, our library and museum holdings are regularly consulted by academics, students, biographers, novelists and poets who are not always able to access such titles elsewhere in Italy.