Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was born August 30, 1797; her parents were William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica 2014). Ten days after Mary Shelley was born her mother died. (Nochimson 2010). Left with an infant and another daughter William Godwin married again. (Nochimson 2010). As a child Mary was given a good education, and was encouraged by her father to learn new things. (Bennett 2010). Through her father she met her future husband Percy Shelley; they soon eloped in July 1814 and later married in 1816 after Percy Shelley’s wife passed away(Encyclopedia Britannica 2014). Mary’s father disapproved of this marriage and later disowned her (Biography in Context 1996). While visiting friends they had a contest to see who could write the best gothic story (Miller 1996). Woken up by a nightmare Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein and later won the competition (Means 2014). After multiple miscarriages and deaths of her children, Mary finally had a healthy child; Percy Florence (“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”1998). However, tragedy struck once again as her husband drowned (Nochimson 2010). Left without a husband or a father to support her and her child, Mary sought the help of her father-in-law. He was willing to support her under the condition that she leaves the Shelley name out of any of her future writing because of this she began to publish anonymously (Bennett 2010). Her first novel Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus was an instant success and brought a new genre to literature (Bennett 2010). She even was able to publish her late husband’s works and continued to publish her own in secret (Bennett 2010). No longer in financial trouble, Shelley was finally able to spend more time working on her writing. She was almost finished with her late husband’s biography when she passed away in 1851 at the age of 54 ("Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley" Encyclopedia of World Biography 1998).


1797 -Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born.1797- Mary Wollstonecraft died 10 days after having Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.1814 - Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped.1816 - Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin married. description1818 - Mary Shelley's book, Frankenstein was published.1839 - Mary Shelley had Percy Shelley's work published by Edward Moxon. 1851 - Mary Shelley passed away.

-History of a Six Weeks’ Tour was published in 1817. The importance is that it gives you an inside look on Mary and Percy’s life together -Frankenstein was published in 1818. This introduced the scientific genre to British Literature. -Valperga was published in 1823. -The Last Man was published in 1826. This is important because it offers a look at what the world would be like if there was a deadly pandemic. -Lodore was published in 1835. This is important because it offers a view on how women become dependent on men, and are seen as fragile creatures. When really put up to the test women can become independent people.

Lasting Impact

Mary Shelley’s most significant contribution to literature was Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. The reason why Mary Shelley’s novel is the most significant out of all her works is because it created an entirely new genre; science fiction. Another reason is due to its popularity. Frankenstein continues to live on throughout the years because of its horrifying tale that continues to spark the interest of many readers. Mary Shelley attempts to show us how knowledge can push the limits of society.In this novel Mary Shelley brings up an example of how thoughts and ideas can easily get out of hand. This might have been a warning to enlightenment idealists when attempting to create a new government. Mary Shelley may have attempted to show them of the dangers of irresponsible use of power. During her lifetime some people became distraught and irritated due to the imaginative ideas in her story. Although she had people criticize her work she never let it stop her from continuing to write. To this day Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has inspired countless plays, movies, and novels. It is clear to see that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has had a lasting effect on the world.

Works Cited

Citations:Archive, Hulton. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. 1830. Getty Images. Student Resource Center. Web. 3 June 2014. .Bennett, Betty T. "Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft 1797 – 1851." Oxford Dictionary Of NationalBiography (2010): 1. Biography Reference Center. Web. 21 Mar. 2014..Easton, Reginald. Mary Shelley. 1893. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. University of Florida Libraries. Web. 3 June 2014. .Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." Xplore Inc, 2014. 8 June 2014. .Means, Richard. “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Kids Search. EBSCO Host. Web. 20 April 2014..Miller, Calvin Craig. “Spirit Like A Storm: The Story of Mary Shelley.” Spirit like astorm: The Story of Mary Shelley, 2ND Ed (1996): 8. Biography Reference Center. Web. 20 Apr. 2014..Nochimson, Martha. "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." Critical Survey OfLong Fiction, Fourth Edition (2010): 1. Biography Reference Center. Web. 21 Mar.2014.. Nochimson, Martha, and Nochimson Martha. "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." CriticalSurvey Of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition (2010): 1. Biography Reference Center.Web. 21 Mar. 2014..N.P."Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 20 Mar. 2014..Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. IMAGE. Encyclopædia Britannica. Web. 8 Jun. 2014..The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica.“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.”Encyclopedia Britannica.Encyclopedia Britannica inc., 2014.N.p.Web.18 March 2014..The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Enlightenment.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica inc., 2014. Web. 21 April 2014..Williams, Nicholas M. "Angelic Realism: Domestic Idealization In Mary Shelley's "Lodore.." Studies In The Novel 39.4 (2007): 397-415. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 June 2014..

Mary Shelley



"The winds whispered in soothing accents,and maternal Nature bade me weep no more."-Mary Shelley


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