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Biography of Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) Mary Shelley was born in London. Mary was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. In her childhood Mary Shelley was left to educate herself amongst her father's intellectual circle, the critic Hazlitt, the essayist Lamb, the poet Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who came into Godwin's circle in 1812. Godwin took a second wife in 1801, but Mary never learned to like her. In 1812 Godwin sent her to live in Dundee. Mary published her first poem at the age of ten. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.


In 1816, the couple spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. In History of six weeks tour (1817) the Shelleys jointly recorded their life. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm in the Bay of La Spezia. Mary revealed that she got the story from a dream, in which she saw "the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with uneasy, half vital motion”. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley http://kirjasto.sci.fi/mshelley.htm

Elena García Fernández 1ºBC


Biography of Mary Shelley  

Written biography by a High School student

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