Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.

In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm in the Bay of La Spezia. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53.

Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish Percy Shelley's works and for her novel Frankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelley’s achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Studies of her lesser-known works such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46) support the growing view that Mary Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life. Mary Shelley's works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin.

Read more about Mary Shelley:  Literary Themes and Styles, Reputation, Selected List of Works

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List Of Works By Mary Shelley - Biographies
... I Mary Shelley and James Montgomery Vol ... According to Mary Shelley's Literary Lives and Other Writings, Mary Shelley wrote the following lives Petrarch, Boccaccio, Lorenzo de'Medici, Marsiglio ... II Mary Shelley, James Montgomery, and Sir David Brewster Vol ...
works" class="article_title_2">Mary Shelley - Selected List of Works
... Castruccio, Prince of Lucca (1823) Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1824) The Last Man (1826) The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830) Lodore (1835) Falkner (1837) The Poetical Works of Percy ... Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle), the Huntington Library, the British Library, and in the John Murray Collection ...
Lives Of The Most Eminent Literary And Scientific Men - Lives of The Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France
... helpmates in the other sex to sustain them in their labours and share their fate." —Mary Shelley, "Madame Roland", French Lives The two-volume Lives ... Shelley was the only contributor to Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia to give such pride of place to female biographical subjects ... Mary Shelley worked on the French Lives from the end of 1837 until the middle of 1839 and she was paid £200 upon their completion ...
Percy Bysshe Shelley - Legacy - In Popular Culture
1837 – Shelley is the principal model for Marmion Herbert, one of the two male protagonists in Benjamin Disraeli's novel Venetia the other ... is based on a struggle to obtain some letters by the poet Shelley years after his death ... Masters includes the poem "Percy Bysshe Shelley" as the namesake of the speaker and that his ashes "were scattered near the pyramid of Caius Cestius / Somewhere near Rome." 1963 – Shelley's strong views on ...
List Of Works By Mary Shelley
... This is a list of works by Mary Shelley (12 August 1801 – 1 February 1874), the British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and ... of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley ... Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish Percy Shelley's works and for Frankenstein ...

Famous quotes containing the word shelley:

    I think that the leaf of a tree, the meanest insect on which we trample, are in themselves arguments more conclusive than any which can be adduced that some vast intellect animates Infinity.
    —Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)