Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"

By Elizabeth Nitchie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
2
An Adverting Mind

If Mary sought the company of what Shelley might have called "adverting minds," she had reason. Her own intellect was good. Not, of course, as good as Shelley had thought it in the ardor of his early love: "the subtlest and most exquisitely fashioned intelligence, . . . among women there is no equal mind to yours."1 But there are other witnesses, among them some of the severest critics of her temperament. Byron is reported to have said, "Mrs. Shelley is very clever--indeed it would be difficult for her not to be; the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and Godwin, and the wife of Shelley, could be no common person."2 Trelawny wrote to Claire in 1835, "She has a fine intellect: her head might be put upon the shoulders of a Philosopher."3 And Claire herself assured her, "If you would but know your own value and exert your powers you could give the men a most immense drubbing!"4

In spite of such tributes to her "masculine understanding," Mary had no illusions on the matter herself. She

____________________
1
. Shelley, Letters, IX, 102.
2
. Lady Blessington, Journal of Conversations of Lord Byron ( London, 1893), p. 67.
3
. Trelawny, Letters, p. 194.
4
Marshall, Life and Letters of Mary W. Shelley, II, 266.

-22-

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Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Self-Examiner 3
  • Chapter 2 - An Adverting Mind 22
  • Chapter 3 - Activity of Remembrance 49
  • Chapter 4 - The Godwins of Skinner Street 83
  • Chapter 5 - Albe and the Pirate 107
  • Chapter 6 - Friends, Foes, and Family 128
  • Chapter 7 - The Author: Eager Aspirant 141
  • Chapter 8 - The Author: No Idle Activity 165
  • Chapter 9 - The Keepsake Of Mary Shelley 179
  • Appendix I 201
  • Appendix II 218
  • Appendix III 235
  • Bibliography 241
  • Index 245
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