Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

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Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft,

1797–1851, English author; daughter of William GodwinGodwin, William,
1756–1836, English author and political philosopher. A minister in his youth, he was, however, plagued by religious doubts and gave up preaching in 1783 for a literary career.
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 and Mary WollstonecraftWollstonecraft, Mary
, 1759–97, English author and feminist, b. London. She was an early proponent of educational equality between men and women, expressing this radical opinion in Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1786).
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. In 1814 she fell in love with the poet Percy Bysshe ShelleyShelley, Percy Bysshe
, 1792–1822, English poet, b. Horsham, Sussex. He is ranked as one of the great English poets of the romantic period. A Tempestuous Life
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, accompanied him abroad, and after the death of his first wife in 1816 was married to him. Her most notable contribution to literature is her novel of terror, Frankenstein, published in 1818. It is the story of a German student who learns the secret of infusing life into inanimate matter and creates a monster that ultimately destroys him. Included among her other novels are Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), and the partly autobiographical Lodore (1835). After Shelley's death in 1822, she devoted herself to caring for her aged father and educating her only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1839–40 she edited her husband's works.

Bibliography

See her journal (ed. by F. L. Jones, 1947); her letters (ed. by M. Spark and D. Stamford, 1953); biographies by M. Spark (1951, repr. 1988), N. B. Gerson (1973), and M. Seymour (2001); C. Gordon, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley (2015); studies by W. A. Walling (1972), E. Sunstein (1989), and R. Montillo (2013).

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft

 

Born Aug. 30, 1797, in London; died there Feb. 1, 1851. English writer. Daughter of W. Godwin; wife of P. B. Shelley.

The hero of Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818; Russian translation, 1965) creates a monster that tries to do good, but, embittered by loneliness, kills its creator. A gloomy picture of the coming downfall of mankind through epidemics and starvation is at the center of her novel The Last Man (1826). Shelley also wrote the autobiographical novel Lodore (1835) and commentaries to a posthumous edition of works by P. B. Shelley (1839).

WORKS

The Letters of Mary Shelley, vols. 1–2. Norman, Okla., 1944–46.
Mary Shelley’s Journal. Norman, Okla., 1947.

REFERENCES

Bel’skii, A. A. Angliiskii roman 1800–1810-x gg. Perm’, 1968.
Spark, M. Child of Light. Hadleigh, Essex, 1951.
Small, C. Ariel Like a Harpy. London, 1972.