Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was a prolific writer, and her birth name was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. She was born on August 30th, 1797, in London, England. Her father, William Godwin, was a politician and a philosopher. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was a famed feminist and writer. Mary Shelley did not know her mother enough who died shortly after she was born. After the death of her mother, Mary’s half-sister Fanny William and dad had to care for her. A few years later, her father got married to another woman, and Mary Shelley never got along with her stepmother and her two children she brought along. This greatly changed the dynamics of the family. The stepmother sent other children to school but saw no need to send Mary Shelley to school.

Mary Shelley had to use her father’s library to self-education in learning to speak and writing as she had no formal education. During her childhood years, they welcomed a lot of distinguished guests into the home, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. She always read close to her mother grave and loved daydreaming as a way of escaping her challenging family situations.

Works and Career

Mary Shelly began a relationship with poet Percy Bysshe in 1814. Percy was a devoted student of her father. However, he focused his attentions on Mary Shelly, and both of them fell in love. They fell in love while he was still married to his first wife, and both of them fled England the same year they fell in love even though Mary was still a teenager. They were accompanied by Mary step-sister, Jane, but their action caused a lot of family backslash for some time. They moved around Europe and had a lot of financial challenges and adversities. Mary had a baby girl that died shorter after birth. The following summer, they went to Switzerland alongside Jane Claremont, Lord Byron Polidori. The group created fun and entertainment for themselves by reading books about ghost stories, adventures, and love. It was from there that the decision to try their hands on creating their own Horror story came about. So Mary began writing Frankenstein, which has become a classical novel. However, there were arguments that Percy B Shelley, her husband, wrote the book.

She published the story of their escape around Europe and also a history of a six weeks tour in 1817 while working her book Frankenstein. Frankenstein was published in 1818, and many thought Percy B. Shelly wrote it since he penned the introduction. Frankenstein was a huge success in the year it was published, and the couple moved to Italy later on. She wrote other novels like The Last Man, Valperga, and Mathilda.

Mary Shelly won a lot of Science fiction awards, Hugo award for the best dramatic presentation in 1975, and Nebula award for the best script in 1976.

Personal life

Mary half-sister Fanny committed suicide, and Percy’s wife also committed suicide a few months later. It was after the death of Percy’s wife that both of them got married in December 1816. Mary was devoted to her husband, but her marriage was not easy. They experienced the death of two more children; there was a lot of heartache and adultery as well. Their Son Percy Florence was the only child that lived until adulthood. Mary’s husband died while he was sailing with friends in the Gulf of Spezia when she was only 24. Mary Shelly suffered from Brain cancer and died on February 1st, 1851, at the age of 51.


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