Mary Shelley is one of the most famous writers of our and her time. Although she has written many novels, biographies and poems, we all know the name of the book that made her famous and respected among others. Even though it seemed like that at some point she had everything she wanted, this biography shows that her life was mostly tragical.
Mary Shelley was actually born as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30th ,1797 in London. She was the a daughter of both Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, and she was their only daughter. Although the labour was not so complicated and difficult, sadly few days after the birth her mother got sick from placental infection which led to her death only eleven days after the birth of Mary Shelley.
Her mother Mary Wollstonecraft had another daughter with her lover Gilbert Imlay and they had a daughter called Fanny Godwin, who grew up with her younger sister Mary. Few years later in 1801, Mary’s father remarried to his neighbor May Jane Clairmont and then things have become more complicated because Mary Jane brought her two children Claire and Charles Clairmont into their house.
Two years later in 1803 another baby was born. His name was William Godwin Jr. and he was a fifth sibling in this family. Mary’s upbringing and childhood weren’t so typical, especially back then. Her father was widely known in London and she had a chance to meet different kinds of people, ranging from philosopher and poet Samuel Coleridge Taylor whom she heard recite the poem “The rime of ancient mariner” in the living room of her father of the scientists like the Humphry Davy and her father’s best friend William Nicholson and many others.
These people have left and trace in Mary’s life and also made a huge impact on her and her writing of one of the most popular books in the world called “Frankenstein”. Mary was really young when she had her first writing and publishing experience, because at the tender age of ten years old her witty and interesting poet called “Mounseer Nongtongpaw| “ or “The Discoveries of the John Bullon a trip going to Paris “ was printed by the Juvenile Library. By 1812, this poem had its fourth edition. It is interesting to mention that Juvenile Library was their main source of income back then, and that publishing firm was focused mostly on younger readers.
Back in 1812, Mary’s father sent her to visit Baxter family living in Dundee, a town in Scotland. He did that because he wanted to separate her from her step-mother whom she didn’t like at all. Luckily that trip was obviously a very wise decision and choice since Mary also gained a lot of experience during that visit.
There she stayed from June until November of 1812. The she came back in June 1813, and stayed there until March of 1814. She has developed a very strong and deep connection to Baxter’s daughter called Isabel and the two have soon become best friends.
Soon after she returned to her home Mary has become really close with her father’s admirer Bysshe Shelley whom she had met in the his wife Harriet’s firm in 1812. Percy has obviously put a spell on young Mary and the young couple soon fell in love with each other. In July the young couple, along with her step-sister Claire escaped to the continent.
Both of them had some things in common and one of them was definitely books. That’s why it was expected from them to write a travel book made out of the journal they’ve made while they were traveling. In 1817, Mary wrote and published a travel book called “History of the six weeks tour” while she was preparing her first novel for the press. Two months later, back in September 1814, the young couple came home unfortunately penniless and young Mary was sadly forced run away from lenders.
On the other hand her father was very hurt and offended and he didn’t even want to see her lover which, even worsen the situation because Mary was not even married and she was pregnant at the tender age of only seventeen. To make things even more difficult and complicated her friend called Isabel Baxter there after was forced to stop any communication with Mary by her family. After some next two years Mary was finally financially stable and she even had a small circle of friend. She was pregnant again, sadly her first child died after only three weeks but in January 1816, she gave birth to her son whom she gave her father’s name.
These years she spent near Windsor and it seemed like she was really happy in that period of time where she sets her first chapters of her next novel called “The Last Man” published in 1826. Even though her marriage seemed good and stable on the outside things aren’t always what they seem. Their marriage was full of scandals related to heartache and adultery including the death of one more child. And then in 1822, her husband died in a tragic way, he drowned.
Mary didn’t want to let him go, she wanted to preserve his place in history so she kept promoting his poetry and in that way she managed to keep him alive. The most famous novel of Mary Shelley was definitely “Frankenstein” even though some people thought that her husband wrote that novel, not her. She had many other popular novels such as “Valperga”, “The fortunes of Perkin Warbeck” published in 1830 and “Lodore” published in 1835 and “Falkner” published in 1837.
Even though these novels were praised and accepted among people, they were never as popular as Frankenstein. Mary didn’t write just novels, she has written prose, short stories, travel writings, biographies. It really seemed like Mary was really passionate about writing.
On February 1851, at only 53 years, Mary Shelley died of brain cancer, in London. She was buried in Bournemouth at St. Peter’s Church, and she was laid to rest right next to her mother and father and with the remains of her husband’s heart.
After approximately one century after her passing, one of her novels called “Mathilde” was finally released, but like we mentioned already her biggest success was definitely Frankenstein because that was the book that placed her among the legends.Book Series In Order » Authors » Mary Shelley