Mary Shelley: Author of "Frankenstein"

By Elizabeth Nitchie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
9
The Keepsake of
Mary Shelley

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

____________________
1
Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson with the Words­worth Circle

-179-

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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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