Mary Shelley (Author) Sasha Newborn (Editor)

Product Details

Bandanna Books
Publish Date
February 19, 2013
5.0 X 0.28 X 8.0 inches | 0.29 pounds
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About the Author

Mary Shelley was the wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, whom she met at one of her father's gatherings of British literary intelligentsia. Both of her parents were famous radicals: her father, William Godwin, was perhaps the first to enunciate the doctrine of utilitarianism, as well as an author (Caleb Williams is his best-known work). Her mother was a leading feminist and author as well; she died shortly after Mary's birth. Mary was fourteen when she first met Percy Shelley, they eloped when she was just 16. She bore him three children who died before the age of 3, and one that survived to adulthood -- though this was after Percy Shelley had died in a boating accident. Mary Shelley's premier accomplishment came out of a stormy evening's entertainment on the shore of Lake Geneva, where Lord Byron suggested that they entertain themselves by inventing ghost stories (since the Gothic novels of vampires and ghosts and mutants was rampant at the time). Mary Shelley's contribution turned into the novel Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, and was an instant sensation. This novel followed the progress of a man who dared test science by creating a living man out of body parts, and then, when he actually succeeded, rejected his invention, and the creature wandered off alone, with no memory of being human, but learning along the way. He didn't start out to be a monster, and in fact demanded of his creator, Victor Frankenstein, that he be provided a mate like himself. The frantic Frankenstein agreed and started to work on a female version -- but then rejected it, and ran away. The creature found him, followed, wreaked revenge on Victor's family, his bride to be, and the two of them ended the novel pursuing each other. It was a moral tale of the consequences of the ambition of science, and is credited with being the first full-blown science fiction novel. The novel Matilda never saw print in Mary Shelley's lifetime; her father refused to return it, probably because readers would assume that he himself was the model for the father with incestuous passion in the story.