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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 - 1851)

Lifespan: 1797 - 1851

Related: Mary Wollstonecraft (mother) - British literature - Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus (1818)

On the night of June 16, after Lord Byron, John Polidori and the Shelleys had read aloud from the Tales of the Dead, a collection of horror tales, Byron suggested that they each write a ghost story. Mary Shelley worked on a tale that would later evolve into Frankenstein. Byron wrote (and quickly abandoned) a fragment of a story, which Polidori used later as the basis for his own tale. [Aug 2006]


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (August 30, 1797 - February 1, 1851) was an English writer who is most famously remembered as the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

Mary Shelley was born in 1797 in London, England to Mary Wollstonecraft and the famous atheist William Godwin. She married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816 after the suicide of his first wife.

She began work on Frankenstein in 1816 when staying at Lord Byron's villa on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. She incorporated a number of different sources into her work, not the least being the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of John Milton's Paradise Lost can also be discerned within the novel.

Mary edited and annotated her husband's works after his death in 1822 and also wrote a few more novels, which do not even begin to approach the lasting power and fame of Frankenstein, with the possible exception of The Last Man, an intelligent novel of the distant future.

Mary Shelley was interred in St. Peter's Churchyard, Bournemouth, Dorset, England. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wollstonecraft_Shelley [Aug 2004]

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