Ozymandias context research


Ozymandais context

Percy Bysshe Shelley first published “Ozymandias” in 1818. Shelley and his friend, the poet Horace Smith, had challenged themselves to write a poem with the same subject, title, form, and theme. Thus there are two strikingly similar sonnets entitled “Ozymandias,” published just weeks apart in The Examiner. Shelley’s poem takes its title from the Egyptian king Ramesses II, known to the Greeks by the name Ozymandias. In 1817, news broke that archeologists had discovered fragments of a funereal statue of Ramesses II and intended to send the pieces to the British museum.

Shelley belongs to the younger generation of English Romantic poets, the generation that came to prominence while William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were settling into middle age. Where the older generation was marked by simple ideals and a reverence for nature, the poets of the younger generation (which also included John Keats and the infamous Lord Byron) came to be known for their sensuous aestheticism, their explorations of intense passions, their political radicalism, and their tragically short lives.

During his reign as pharaoh, Ramses II led the Egyptian


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