Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"

By Elizabeth Nitchie | Go to book overview

Introduction

"To live with Mary Shelley," wrote Mrs. Marshall, under the spell of Mary's adoring daughter-in-law, "was indeed like entertaining an angel. Perfect unselfishness, selflessness indeed, characterized her at all times. . . . The influence of such a wife on Shelley's more vehement, visionary temperament can hardly be over-estimated. . . . He would not have been all he was without her sustaining and refining influence; without the constant sense that in loving him she loved his ideals also. We owe him, in part, to her."1

For many years this was the accepted judgment of Shelley's second wife. At that time there was "chatter about Harriet." Of late there has been much chatter about Mary. A recent writer accuses her of conniving with a forger-- perhaps even of forgery--and of setting for her daughterin-law an example in suppression of fact designed to create "the Shelley legend."2 The partisans of John Howard

____________________
1
Marshall, The Life and Letters of Mary W. Shelley, II, 311, 324-325.
2
R. M. Smith, T. G. Ehrsam, et al., The Shelley Legend ( N.Y., Scribner's, 1945), passim, especially pp. 79, 112. But see Mr. Ehrsam'sPayne

-xi-

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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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