Shelley’s Copy of the Odyssey and Other Treasures of the Keats-Shelley House Library,
a talk by Valentina Varinelli
On Thursday 9th February at 5 p.m. join us for a talk in English by Dr Valentina Varinelli, Adjunct Professor of English Literature at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Brescia and renowned Mary and Percy Shelley scholar, on a collection of books that once belonged to the Shelley family.
In 2005, the Keats-Shelley House library acquired a collection of forty-eight books that once belonged to the Shelley family and were handed down to their heirs. Since 2013, they have been on display in a bookcase in the museum antechamber. The collection includes life-time editions of works by William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Leigh Hunt, and other contemporary writers as well as Percy Bysshe Shelley’s fabled “Grenville Homer” and his and his wife’s copies of Horace, Lucan, and Ariosto – part of “the choice society of all ages” that they had packed in a trunk and carried to Italy with them at the time of their exile. These books, which are all inscribed with their owners’ name, convey the picture of a living, breathing library.
They are elegant (and valuable) scholarly editions, yet they are full of markings and annotations, revealing the Shelleys’ literary interests and various modes of engagement with the great works of the past. Above all, they testify to the centrality of reading in the Shelleys’ life and their close collaboration as students of the classics and modern European literatures.
ADMISSION IS FREE OF CHARGE but booking is mandatory due to the limited number of seats (write to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Valentina Varinelli completed her AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature at Newcastle University, UK, and currently teaches at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Brescia, Italy. She is the assistant editor of the Mondadori Meridiani editions of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poetry and prose (2018) and the author of Italian Impromptus: A Study of P.B. Shelley’s Writings in Italian with an Annotated Edition (2022). She has published articles and essays on Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and their circle and is now co-editing Shelley’s Complete Verse Translations for Longman.