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Lord Byron in the hand of Mary Shelley

"Lord Byron in the Hand of Mary Shelley" is a temporary exhibition held at the Keats-Shelley House, in Piazza di Spagna 26, until November 6th 2015.

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“Lord Byron in the Hand of Mary Shelley” is a temporary exhibition held at the Keats-Shelley House, in Piazza di Spagna 26, until November 6th 2015.

In display, there are eleven original manuscript poems and letters by Byron and Mary Shelley and an important collection of books, manuscripts and artefacts belonging to and associated with Lord Byron, part of the permanent collection of the museum. Among them is the famous portrait of Lord Byron by Richard Westall.
The manuscripts are on loan from the John Murray Archive, National Library of Scotland, and many of the items are being publicly displayed for the first time.


The exhibition begins with an overview of Lord Byron’s life and his relationships with a focus on his manuscripts. The visitor has the opportunity to observe the neat handwriting of Mary Shelley who copied out Byron’s work, preparing it for publication. It was a challenging task, undertaken by Mary after the death of her husband Percy Bisshe, but eventually became a distraction from her grief.

The most impressive item is an original sheet of Lord Byron’s Don Juan, canto VI in the hand of Mary Shelley, which shows Byron’s corrections and interventions on the text. The letters give interesting insights on the life and work of the two writers, while they may provide the visitor a chance to look into the relationship between the poet and the novelist.

This exhibition is not about passive contemplating, as the visitors are encouraged to browse a reproduction of almost a hundred sheets of the complete manuscripts of cantos VI, VII and VIII of Don Juan. Each item from the Murray Archive may be found in a copy and transcription, available in the exhibition room, while there are Italian translations in each room of the museum.
On the 5th of November, an Academic Conference will take place at the Keats-Shelley House. Inspired by the exhibition, it will host a circle of talks about Byron’s works.


In the exquisite frame of the Piazza, the Keats-Shelley House is a fascinating museum, in which the spirit of the second generation of Romantic poets is kept alive. With a long and prestigious history, the museum hosts many public events and has an extensive working library about Romantic literature.


Keats-Shelley House
Address: 26 Piazza di Spaga – Rome
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10-13 and 14-18, closed on Sunday
Admission: Entrance to the exhibition is included in the standard entrance ticket of €5.00 (€4.00 for under 18 and over 65)

Francesca Laura is a talented and eclectic writer, she works as a script consultant for a well-known film production house in Italy, while cultivating her passion for literature. She is currently involved in different projects with directors and authors.

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