Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"

By Elizabeth Nitchie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
4
The Godwins of Skinner Street

When Mary Godwin was ten years old, her father moved to the shop and dwelling house on Skinner Street which was to be his home until he was evicted in 1822. It was a strange and complex household: Godwin and his second wife; Fanny, natural daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and Gilbert Imlay, and Mary, daughter of the same mother and of Godwin; Jane1 and Charles Clairmont, children of Godwin's second wife; William, the only child who belonged to both parents. There the three girls grew up together. From the doors of Number 41 they escaped, Mary to elope with Shelley, Jane to go with them and to make her home with them intermittently until Shelley's death, and Fanny to take her own life in a Swansea inn.

The two boys were sent to school; but the girls were educated at home. Most of the time they had a governess; at intervals they had daily language lessons. But Godwin himself did most of the teaching. In the first edition of Frankenstein there is a passage which must be based on Mary's educational experiences. "Our studies," said Victor Frankenstein, "were never forced; and by some means

____________________
1
Later called Claire.

-83-

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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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