The Keepsake of
With the publication of the Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1844, Mary Shelley's writing life was over. It had been an arduous discipline, successful in that it had made for her and Percy a living, limited and sometimes precarious as it was. Yet she left only two works that have survived as wholes on their own merits: the notes to Shelley's works largely because of their subject matter, Frankenstein because of the strange, imaginative conception and compelling writing. It is easy to dispose of her as the unworthy companion of a great poet, the progressively worsening author of sentimental fiction. Such a judgment, however, neglects the strength of her nonfiction and the positive merits of her novels and tales.
To her contemporaries, not only her friends but also her reviewers, she was among the first of the "stellae minores" in current literature. In 1837 Crabb Robinson named her as one of "the only three writers of note" who had not signed the petition in regard to the American copyright for English authors.1 Ten years later George Gilfillan spoke of____________________