Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mary Shelley Background

From 1983 Signet Classic:
Born in London in 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, a noted social theorist, and Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the leading woman literary figures of the day. Her mother died soon after her birth, and Mary was raised first under the care of servants, then by a stepmother, and lastly in the advanced intellectual atmosphere of her father's circle. In May, 1814, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in July of that year eloped with him to the Continent. Two years later, after the death of Shelley's wife, the poet and Mary were able to marry. It was in Switzerland in 1816, as a result of a story-writing competition among the Shelleys and Lord Byron, that Mary began Frankenstein, her first and most famous novel. Published in 1816, it was followed by such works as Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837). In 1823, after the death of her husband, she returned to England; there she devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and the securing of his right to the Shelley family title. She died in 1851.