Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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In Search of the Novel:Ten Novelists

Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was born on August 30, 1797. Her parents were the ardent feminist, Mary Wollestonecraft, and the radical-anarchist philosoper, William Godwin. She had little formal schooling and eloped with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at sixteen.

Mary Shelley’s life was filled with tragedy, from the death of her mother in childbirth to the drowning of her husband when she was about twenty-five. Her first child died soon after its birth. Throughout his life with her, Percy Shelley encouraged his wife to write. She did so in 1816 when she was in Switzerland with him. She developed and wrote Frankenstein for a contest involving ghost stories. After her husband’s death, Mary Shelley wrote Valperga, The Last Man, Lodore, and Falkner.
On February 1, 1851, Mary Shelley died. She was survived by one son, Percy Florence.

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