Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator

by Catherine Reef

A prologue describing how Mary Shelley kept Percy Bysshe Shelley’s desiccated... read more

A prologue describing how Mary Shelley kept Percy Bysshe Shelley’s desiccated heart wrapped in pages of poetry in her writing desk for 30 years seems a fitting entry into the life of Frankenstein’s creator. Influences on young Mary are detailed, from her mother’s legacy as a feminist writer, to her father’s role as teacher and publisher, to her teenage meeting with the married poet Percy Shelley. The tumultuous nature of Mary and Percy’s life together, moving often, struggling with debt, and rumors of infidelity, eroded their early romantic unity. The deaths of three of their four children added to Mary’s emotional burden, capped by Percy’s drowning in a boating accident at age 29. Despite the success of Frankenstein, completed when she was just 19, Mary Shelley struggled to support herself and her son with her lesser known novels and other works throughout most of her life, and was criticized for her editing of a collection of her late husband’s writing. Illustrated with engravings and portraits, this meticulous biography includes extensive notes and a bibliography. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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