A full century of alternating adulation and opprobrium has washed over the memory of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley since her death in 1851. It seems fitting, therefore, to present a fresh evaluation of her as a woman and as a writer: as Shelley's wife, as a member of the Byron-Shelley circle, as an observer of her world, as an author who made a small name for herself in the literary life of the first half of the nineteenth century.
My investigations have led me to the chief repositories of printed and manuscript material: the British Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Huntington Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Lord Chamberlain's collection of licensed plays, the Keats House and Museum in Hampstead, and the Keats-Shelley Memorial in Rome. They have opened to me the collections of Lord Abinger and the late Sir John Shelley-Rolls, joint heirs with the Bodleian of the Shelley papers belonging to Sir Percy and Lady Shelley. To them and to the Curators, Trustees, and Directors of the libraries and museums I am deeply indebted.
I have read and reread Mary Shelley's writings. I have explored the periodicals and annuals of her day and have