Mary Shelley will forever be remembered for her novel "Frankenstein" one of the scariest books you will ever read. Mary was born on the 30th August 1797 in Somers Town, England to well-known parents: author and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin. Mary was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer and travel writer who was best known for her Gothic Novel Frankenstein and The Modern Prometheus.
She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic Poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley who she had married in 1816 after the death of his 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 Shelley's 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.
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.
In the mid-1840s, Mary Shelley found herself the target of three separate blackmailers. In 1845, an Italian political exile called Gatteschi, whom she had met in Paris, threatened to publish letters she had sent him. A friend of her son's bribed a police chief into seizing Gatteschi's papers, including the letters, which were then destroyed. Shortly afterwards, Mary Shelley bought some letters written by herself and Percy Bysshe Shelley from a man calling himself G. Byron and posing as the illegitimate son of the late Lord Byron.Also in 1845, Percy Bysshe Shelley's cousin Thomas Medwin approached her claiming to have written a damaging biography of Percy Shelley. He said he would suppress it in return for £250, but Mary Shelley refused.
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 on the 1st February 1851.
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