Frankenstein

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1797–1851, English author; daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1814 she fell in love with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, accompanied him abroad, and after the death of his first wife in 1816 was married to him. Her most notable contribution to literature is her novel of terror, Frankenstein, published in 1818. It is the story of a German student who learns the secret of infusing life into inanimate matter and creates a monster that ultimately destroys him. Included among her other novels are Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), and the partly autobiographical Lodore (1835). After Shelley's death in 1822, she devoted herself to caring for her aged father and educating her only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1839–40 she edited her husband's works.

See her journal (ed. by F. L. Jones, 1947); her letters (ed. by M. Spark and D. Stamford, 1953); biographies by M. Spark (1951, repr. 1988), N. B. Gerson (1973), and M. Seymour (2001); studies by W. A. Walling (1972), E. Sunstein (1989), and R. Montillo (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
Collier Books, 1961
The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley
Esther Schor.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Frankenstein in multiple chapters
Women's Vision in Western Literature: The Empathic Community
Laurence M. Porter.
Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "Sympathy for the Devil: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818)"
Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"
Elizabeth Nitchie.
Greenwood Press, 1970
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Frankenstein begins on p. 144
Hideous Progenies: Dramatizations of Frankenstein from Mary Shelley to the Present
Steven Earl Forry.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990
The Frankenstein Film Sourcebook
Caroline Joan (Kay) S. Picart; Frank Smoot; Jayne Blodgett.
Greenwood Press, 2001
Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic
Linda Badley.
Greenwood Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Frankenstein's Progeny"
Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature
Thomas Reed Whissen.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Frankenstein begins on p. 102
Frankenstein and the Reprobate's Conscience
Goodall, Jane.
Studies in the Novel, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 1999
Frankenstein and the Spark of Being
James, Frank A. J. L.; Field, J. V.
History Today, Vol. 44, No. 9, September 1994
Haunted Presence: The Numinous in Gothic Fiction
S. L. Varnado.
University of Alabama Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Frankenstein"
Romanticism and the Human Sciences: Poetry, Population, and the Discourse of the Species
Maureen N. McLane.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Literate Species: Populations, 'Humanities,' and the Specific Failure of Literature in Frankenstein"
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