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Mary Shelley Bio 
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Post Mary Shelley Bio
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Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later known as Mary Shelley, was born in Somers Town, London, England, on the 30th of August 1797. She was the daughter of William Godwin, a journalist, philosopher and novelist, and Mary Wollstonecraft, educator and feminist philosopher which was to die only 11 days after her birth, from puerperal fever. She and her four years older half-sister Fanny Imlay, were raised and educated by her father who encouraged them to write from early age. Mary Shelley became an essayist, biographer, short story writer, and novelist, famous for her novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus, from 1818. Similar to her mother, Shelley led a complicated private life and suffered much ostracism due to her affair with the married man Percy Bysshe Shelley, which was later to become her husband. Shelly also lost three of her children prematurely until the birth of her only surviving child Percy Florence, born in 1819. Shelley's husband also died prematurely sailing into a storm. Shelley herself died on the 1st of February 1851, after struggling through her last years most likely with a brain tumor.

When Mary Shelley was four years old, her father married Mary Jane Clairmont, their neighbor, who had already two children of her own. His new wife was disliked by most of Godwin's friends and she and Mary did not get along. From an early age, Mary was encouraged by her father to write letters and she took an early liking to writing. She was also encouraged to embrace her father's sociopolitical liberal views and theories and was mostly informally educated, at home. Mary Shelley had access to her father's library, had a governess and a daily tutor. She was later sent to stay with William Baxter, a known radical, and his family in Scotland. At the age of fifteen, she was described by her father as "singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything she undertakes almost invincible."

In 1814, with seventeen years old, Mary Shelley started a relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of her father's political admirers and a married man. Percy was also helping Godwin financially and, due to his admiration for Godwin's political thought, he was alienated from his aristocratic surroundings. Percy and Mary Shelley started meeting secretly at her mother's grave and when her father discovered, he tried to finish the relationship, without success. The couple travelled to France with Mary's step sister Claire Clairmont and only returned when there was no money left. Upon their return, Mary Shelley was pregnant and her father, to her surprise, refused any help. Percy was constantly leaving home, escaping from creditors and also at the time Percy's wife gave birth to their son and Percy seemed to want Mary Shelley to have an affair with his friend Hogg. They left to Geneva with Claire Clairmont in 1816, to spend the summer with Lord Byron, Claire's affair at the time. The bad weather confined them to the house and they spend much of their time talking about galvanism and reading ghost stories which prompted her to write the first sketch of what was to become her most famous novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus.


http://www.egs.edu/library/mary-shelley/biography/



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Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:54 am
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Post Re: Mary Shelley Bio
Suzanne, I am glad you added this thread, as it should help all of us understand the story better. I read one of the on-line biographies for Mary Shelly last night, and learned a lot about her. I recommend that everyone participating in tis discussion read her biography.


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Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:08 am
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Post Re: Mary Shelley Bio
Wow, that is one thought provoking bio, I liked it that Mary evoked the word invincible even if it was qualified with almost.



Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Mary Shelley Bio
I read that Brian Aldiss, himself a science-fiction writer, called "Frankenstein" the first true work of science-fiction, as it did not rely on magic, deities, etc., but only on the efforts of a man. As Mary Shelley wrote at least one other book which I would classify as S-F (though I have read only the brief summary), "The Last Man" (1826). an end-of-the-world story, I wonder; does that make her the first science-fiction writer??? :?


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Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:38 pm
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Post Re: Mary Shelley Bio
I've read that one of the people the Shelley's spent time with during their Geneva trip was Matthew Lewis,(famous for the gothic horror romance The Monk) The trip must have been interesting in that one of the objects was to tell each other ghost stories, witch got me wondering if it was easier to believe in ghost 200 years ago, and if the author's themselves were or had fears about such things. Imagine sitting in your little house with no indoor plumbing with only candles or oil lamps for light, you sit down with a newly published book, its dusk or nearly after, you've heard the book tells the story of a man creating a man from the bits and pieces of many men; parts gathered from uncommon places, you read late into the night..... I wonder if the book terrified peoples sleep like the movie did when I was a kid, I remember hiding under the sheets behind a pillow with one eye peaking out to watch the seen of the monster rumbling through town or the castle, when sleep came it was from exhaustion brought about by an hysteria that was pure trauma, only to wake with the monster on my tail just about to grab me. That was about forty years or so ago and to this day I still sometimes wake with Boris Karloff chasing me through a castle, always the same scenario, just when I have no place left to run I wake, I've had the nightmare so often that it been nothing to me for many years. One thing is funny though, I'm the youngest of five kids, and just when I'm at that point in the dream with no place left to go, with me on one side of a battered wooden door and the monster on the other at the height of my sleep terror the door burst open and its always my oldest brother standing there, then I lay there thinking what the hell was that all about. Being the youngest my brothers always managed to find a way to petrify me. Mary Shelley was a handy tool.



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Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:57 am
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