Fanny Imlay

"On Fanny Godwin"

Her voice did quiver as we parted,
Yet knew I not that heart was broken
From which it came, and I departed
Heeding not the words then spoken.
Misery—O Misery,
This world is all too wide for thee.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Frances "Fanny" Imlay (14 May 1794 – 9 October 1816), also known as Fanny Godwin and Frances Wollstonecraft, was the illegitimate daughter of the British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the American commercial speculator Gilbert Imlay. Fanny's mother wrote about her frequently in her later works, and Percy Bysshe Shelley composed a poem on her death. Fanny grew up in the household of Radical philosopher William Godwin, and her half-sister Mary later wrote Frankenstein and married Shelley, a leading Romantic poet. The Godwin and Shelley families have been the subject of intense academic and popular interest, which includes Fanny; although by the time of her suicide at the age of 22 she had not achieved anything of note.

Although Gilbert Imlay and Mary Wollstonecraft lived together happily for brief periods before and after the birth of Fanny, he left Wollstonecraft in France in the midst of the French Revolution. In an attempt to revive their relationship, Wollstonecraft travelled to Scandinavia on business for him, taking the one-year-old Fanny with her, but the affair never rekindled. After falling in love with and marrying the philosopher William Godwin, Wollstonecraft died soon after giving birth in 1797, leaving the three-year-old Fanny in the hands of Godwin, along with the newborn Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (the future author of Frankenstein).

Four years later, Godwin remarried and his new wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, brought two children of her own into the marriage, most significantly—from Fanny Imlay's and Mary Godwin's perspective—Claire Clairmont. Wollstonecraft's daughters resented the new Mrs Godwin and the attention she paid to her own daughter. The Godwin household became an increasingly uncomfortable place to live as tensions rose and debts mounted. The teenage Mary and Claire escaped by running off to the Continent with the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1814. Fanny, left behind, bore the brunt of her stepfather's anger. She became increasingly isolated from her family and committed suicide in 1816.

Other articles related to "fanny imlay, fanny, imlay":

Fanny Imlay - Death - Suicide and Aftermath
... were with them." —William Godwin on Fanny Godwin On the night of 9 October, Imlay checked into the Mackworth Arms Inn in Swansea and instructed the ... Mary Godwin, staying in Bath with Shelley, received a letter Imlay had mailed earlier from Bristol ... Imlay was found dead in her room on 10 October, having taken a fatal dose of laudanum, and it was only Shelley who stayed to deal with the situation ...
Fanny Imlay - Life - Teenage Years - Percy, Mary, and Claire
... Bysshe Shelley who had the greatest impact on Imlay and her sisters' lives ... In 1812, Shelley asked if Imlay, then 18 and the daughter of one of his heroes, Mary Wollstonecraft, could come live with him, his new wife, and her sister ... Shelley finally came to visit the Godwins, all three girls were enamoured with him, particularly Imlay ...

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