The Keats-Shelley Blog

7 April 2022

A Brief History of Elegy

The theme of 2022’s Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Poetry Prize is ‘ELEGY’, to mark the bicentenaries of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s death in 1822 and the composition of Adonais (1821), his elegy for John Keats in the previous year.

This rather begs the question: what is an elegy? We will try to provide a few answers here referring to elegies we have included on our Google Earth world map of elegies: ‘Around the World in 80 Elegies’. We will put links into the text to the relevant poems.

The first edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley's Adonais (1821)