The Last Man on Earth

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By Catherine Redford

J. M. W. Turner’s ‘The Last Man’ (1837)

I was recently asked to write a post for the Wordsworth Trust’s fantastic new Wordsworth and Romanticism blog on the figure of the Last Man on Earth in Romantic literature. Regular readers of my blog will know that this was the subject of my PhD thesis, which I’m now revising for publication, so of course I jumped at the chance to get people thinking about the significance of Last Man literature! I’ve re-posted my contribution below, but the original article can be found here. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to look at the other posts on the Wordsworth and Romanticism blog yet then I’d really recommend that you do; there have been over 30 short articles published so far on a wide range of Romantic topics.

The Last Man on Earth in Romantic Literature

One glorious summer’s day in 1816, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley stood together on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, quietly contemplating the brilliant expanse of water as the sun glinted off its surface. Suddenly, Shelley turned to Byron and exclaimed, his words sending a shiver of …read more