Writer launches campaign for new Oxford memorial to Percy Shelley

first_imgA writer has called for a new memorial to Romantic poet and University College alum Percy Bysshe Shelley to be erected in Oxford.John Webster, a freelance writer from Headington, specialises in Romantic poetry studies.Webster has suggested that there should be a more public tribute to the poet in addition to the memorial at University College, below.The Lloyds Bank building on the corner of Cornmarket and High Street has been suggested as an option for a new memorial.After launching the campaign as a member of the Oxford Humanist Group, Webster spoke of the need for a more current memorial to Shelley.“With the support of the Humanist Group I am embarking on an initiative to create a new Shelley memorial in Oxford and I would like to invite support for it,” he said. “There is of course an existing memorial at University College but this is universally regarded to be very much of its time, and is also not universally accessible to the public.”Mr Webster said that his idea would be to place a plaque or sign near or close to the site of the original bookshop, where Shelley launched his famous 1811 treatise “The Necessity of Atheism”.“This is on the High Street, where now Lloyds Bank can be found, and the text could begin along the lines of the memorial to John Wesley in New Inn Hall Street: ‘In a bookshop on this site Percy Bysshe Shelley launched in March 1811 his treatise ‘The Necessity of Atheism’.”Webster said that he is aware “atheism makes some people cross and would not want to have anything that spoils anyone’s day but rather encourages and inspires.”University College’s memorial to Shelley was formally inaugurated in 1893, after the College agreed to a request by Lady Shelley to house it.The sculpture was intended to be placed in the Protestant cemetery in Rome, in which Shelley is buried, but it was too large for the plot.Among Shelley’s most famous poems are ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Ode to the West Wind’.He died in 1822, aged 29, after drowning in a sudden storm on the Gulf of Spezia. The Univ memorial was designed by Edward Onslow Ford.last_img

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