Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley  was born on this day in 1797. She was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer. Her most famous work is 1818’s gothic novel Frankenstein (or The Modern Prometheus)

Mary’s father William Godwin was a political philosopher and were mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary’s husband was the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In 1816, the couple spent the summer with Lord Bryon and others near Geneva Switzerland, and that”s where Mary conceived the idea for Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where Mary gave birth to their 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 to raise her son and focus on her writing career. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumor that was to kill her at the age of 53.

Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish her husband’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).