Date 1875-12-04
Publication Academy
Topic WMR reconstructs Shelley's drowning
AP display
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Subject literature
Keywords Shelley's death
  ↳ murder
  ↳ evidence
Standards multiple sources
  ↳ witness
  ↳ confession
Notes WMR cites this letter in later lectures/essays.

Annotation details

75 December 4 Academy


Rossetti reconstructs Shelley's drowning.


Rossetti, William M. "The Drowning of Shelley." Academy (December 4, 1875): 187. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Rossetti puts together multiple sources and reports regarding the drowning of Shelley in 1822. He cites his own letter that appeared in The Times that referred to a letter from Edward John Trelawny's daughter to Trelawny himself. That letter referred to a recently taken deathbed confession, which Rossetti deems credible, from a Spezia sailor who described the act of boarding Shelley's boat in a storm for the purpose of robbing Shelley. The Don Juan sank in the process and Shelley, a non-swimmer, drowned. Rossetti combines the reports from multiple sources, including Mary Shelley, Edward John Trelawny, Miss Trelawny, Leigh Hunt and Mr. Peacock.




Shelley drowning, causes, sources, narrative

Standards of Judgment:

collected facts, witness reports

Rhetoric and tone:

definitive, evaluative


Mary Shelley, Edward John Trelawny, Leigh Hunt, Peacock