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Biography of Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley :

Mary Shelley (Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) was born on august 30th 1797 in Somers Town near Camden in London. She died on february 1st 1851 in Belgravia (London). She was an autor, a woman of letters,novelist, playwright, essayist, biographer and author of travel stories, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).

Daughter of the feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft and political writer William Godwin, she loses her mother while she is only eleven days old. His father remarried four years later. He offers his daughter a rich education and encourages her to adhere to her liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin initiated an affair with a married man, a supporter of his father, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Accompanied by Claire Clairmont, the daughter of Mary's stepmother, the couple travels through Europe. Over the next two years, Mary and Percy face permanent debt and the death of their daughter. They married in 1816, after the suicide of the first wife of Percy.

In 1816, during a stay near Geneva, Mary (now Mary Shelley) wrote her first novel, Frankenstein. In 1818, the Shelley left Great Britain for Italy, where their second and third children died, before Mary Shelley gave birth to her son, Percy Florence Shelley, who alone survived. In 1822, her husband drowned in the Gulf of La Spezia during a storm. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and devoted herself entirely to her son's education and career as an author. The last ten years of his life are marked by illness. She dies from a brain tumor on february 1st 1851

Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley, apart from her Frankenstein, is best known for her efforts to publish her husband's works. Recent studies have given a more complete picture of his work and showed that Mary Shelley has remained a political radical throughout her life, supporting the idea that cooperation and solidarity, practiced naturally by women in their Family, are the way to reform civil society.

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