Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language. He was known for his unconventional life and uncompromising idealism. Among his admirers were such luminaries as Oscar Wilde, Bertrand Russell, Isadora Duncan, Upton Sinclair, Henry David Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 
In 1811, Shelley wrote a treatise on atheism, The Necessity of Atheism. On first printing, a copy of the work was sent to all the heads of Oxford colleges at the University. At the time, the content was considered so shocking that he was temporarily expelled for refusing to deny authorship, together with his friend and fellow student, Thomas Jefferson Hogg.