Mary Shelley Popular Books

Mary Shelley Biography & Facts

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (UK: ; née Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist who is best known for writing the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), which is considered an early example of science fiction. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin and her mother was the philosopher and women's rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary's mother died 11 days after giving birth to her. She was raised by her father, who provided her with a rich if informal education, encouraging her to adhere to his own anarchist political theories. When she was four, her father married a neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont, with whom Mary came to have a troubled relationship.In 1814, Mary began a romance with one of her father's political followers, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married. Together with her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, she and Percy left for France and travelled through Europe. Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816, after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet. In 1816, the couple and Mary's stepsister famously spent a summer with Lord Byron and John William Polidori near Geneva, Switzerland, where Shelley conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, most likely caused by the brain tumour which killed her at the age of 53. Until the 1970s, Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish her husband's works and for her novel Frankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Shelley's achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826) and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Studies of her lesser-known works, such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–1846), support the growing view that Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life. Shelley's works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin. Life and career Early life Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in Somers Town, London, in 1797. She was the second child of the feminist philosopher, educator, and writer Mary Wollstonecraft and the first child of the philosopher, novelist, and journalist William Godwin. Wollstonecraft died of puerperal fever shortly after Mary was born. Godwin was left to bring up Mary, along with her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, Wollstonecraft's child by the American speculator Gilbert Imlay. A year after Wollstonecraft's death, Godwin published his Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798), which he intended as a sincere and compassionate tribute. However, because the Memoirs revealed Wollstonecraft's affairs and her illegitimate child, they were seen as shocking. Mary Godwin read these memoirs and her mother's books, and was brought up to cherish her mother's memory.Mary's earliest years were happy, judging from the letters of William Godwin's housekeeper and nurse, Louisa Jones. But Godwin was often deeply in debt; feeling that he could not raise the children by himself, he cast about for a second wife. In December 1801, he married Mary Jane Clairmont, a well-educated woman with two young children of her own – Charles and Claire. Most of Godwin's friends disliked his new wife, describing her as quick-tempered and quarrelsome; but Godwin was devoted to her, and the marriage was a success. Mary Godwin, in contrast, came to detest her stepmother. William Godwin's 19th-century biographer Charles Kegan Paul later suggested that Mrs Godwin had favoured her own children over those of Mary Wollstonecraft.Together, the Godwins started a publishing firm called M. J. Godwin, which sold children's books as well as stationery, maps, and games. However, the business did not turn a profit, and Godwin was forced to borrow substantial sums to keep it going. He continued to borrow to pay off earlier loans, compounding his difficulties. By 1809, Godwin's business was close to failure, and he was "near to despair". Godwin was saved from debtor's prison by philosophical devotees such as Francis Place, who lent him further money. Though Mary Godwin received little formal education, her father tutored her in a broad range of subjects. He often took the children on educational outings, and they had access to his library and to the many intellectuals who visited him, including the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the former vice-president of the United States Aaron Burr. Godwin admitted he was not educating the children according to Mary Wollstonecraft's philosophy as outlined in works such as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), but Mary Godwin nonetheless received an unusual and advanced education for a girl of the time. She had a governess and a daily tutor and read many of her father's children's books on Roman and Greek history in manuscript. For six months in 1811, she also attended a boarding school in Ramsgate. Her father described her at age 15 as "singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything she undertakes almost invincible."In June 1812, Mary's father sent her to stay with the dissenting family of the radical William Baxter, near Dundee, Scotland. To Baxter, he wrote, "I am anxious that she should be brought up ... like a philosopher, even like a cynic." Scholars have speculated that she was sent away for her health, to remove her from the seamy side of the business, or to introduce her to radical politics. Mary Godwin revelled in the spacious surroundings of Baxter's house and in the companionship of his four daughters, and she returned north in the summer of 1813 for a further stay of 10.... Discover the Mary Shelley popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Mary Shelley books.

Best Seller Mary Shelley Books of 2024

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

    New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Mary Shelley, the English novelist and creator of Frankenstein. When Mary Shelley ...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Manuela Santoni & Alessandro Di Virgilio

    Mary Shelley nació en Londres en agosto de 1797. Es hija de la famosa filósofa Mary Wollstonecraft, precursora del movimiento feminista, y de William Godwin, novelista y político r...

  • The Scarlet Letter synopsis, comments

    The Scarlet Letter

    Nathaniel Hawthorne, Brenda Wineapple & Regina Barreca

    This tragic novel of sin and redemption is Hawthorne's masterpiece of American fiction.An ardent young woman, her cowardly lover, and her aging vengeful husbandthese are the centra...

  • A Tale of Two Cities synopsis, comments

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens, Frederick Busch & A. N. Wilson

    The French Revolution comes to vivid life in Charles Dickens's famous novel about the best of times and the worst of times...The storming of the Bastille…the death carts with their...

  • Frankenstein synopsis, comments

    Frankenstein

    Mary Shelley, Harold Bloom & Douglas Clegg

    More than 200 years after it was first published, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has stood the test of time as a gothic masterpiecea classic work of horror that blurs the line between...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Barbara Sichtermann

    Dass der Roman Frankenstein das Werk eines jungen Mädchens von erst neunzehn Jahren war, hat die Öffentlichkeit fast zwei Jahrhunderte in aller Welt kaum zur Kenntnis genommen. Der...

  • Lord of the Flies synopsis, comments

    Lord of the Flies

    William Golding, Lois Lowry & Jennifer Buehler

    Golding’s iconic 1954 novel, now with a new foreword by Lois Lowry, remains one of the greatest books ever written for young adults and an unforgettable classic for readers of any ...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Cathy Bernheim

    Mary Shelley et Frankenstein... Quelle plus bizarre rencontre que ces deux noms unis par une postérité littéraire et cinématographique imprévisible ? À dixhuit ans, l’amie de ...

  • In Search of Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    In Search of Mary Shelley

    Fiona Sampson

    We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detailthe death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, within days of her birth; the upbringing in the house of her father, William Go...

  • The Pickwick Papers synopsis, comments

    The Pickwick Papers

    Charles Dickens & Mark Wormald

    'One of my life's greatest tragedies is to have already read Pickwick Papers I can't go back and read it for the first time' Fernando PessoaFew first novels have created as much p...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

    New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Mary Shelley, the English novelist and creator of Frankenstein. When Mary Shelley ...

  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein synopsis, comments

    The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

    Kiersten White

    A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEARA CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR "Inescapably compelling." VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Carmela Vásquez

    T'imagines un estiu sense calor ni sol ni piscina? Doncs així va ser l'estiu quan tot va començar per a la Mary Shelley.Estava amb uns amics a Suïssa, i s'avorrien tant que un d'el...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

    New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Mary Shelley, the English novelist and creator of Frankenstein. When Mary Shelley ...

  • The Grand Hotel synopsis, comments

    The Grand Hotel

    Scott Kenemore

    Welcome to the hotel where nobody checks out.When a desk clerk welcomes a group of tourists into his mysterious and crumbling hotel, the last thing he expects is that a lone girl o...

  • The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Collection synopsis, comments

    The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Collection

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

    Karpathos publishes the greatest works of history's greatest authors and collects them to make it easy and affordable for readers to have them all at the push of a button.  Al...

  • Frankenstein synopsis, comments

    Frankenstein

    Mary Shelley

    Nominated as one of America’s bestloved novels by PBS’s The Great American ReadAt the age of eighteen, Mary Shelley, while staying in the Swiss Alps with her lover Percy Shell...

  • Wonderworks synopsis, comments

    Wonderworks

    Angus Fletcher

    This “fascinating” (Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author of Outliers) examination of literary inventions through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante...

  • Dracula synopsis, comments

    Dracula

    Bram Stoker, Leonard Wolf & Jeffrey Meyers

    Bram Stoker’s gothic horror masterpiece pits good against evil and life against death, all under the thrall of the original vampire....“Listen to themthe children of the night...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Helen Edmundson

    Mary Shelley: daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft; lover of Shelley; author of Frankenstein'Helen Edmundson's compelling play explores a crucial episode in the early life of Mary Shell...

  • The Complete Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    The Complete Mary Shelley

    Mary Shelley

    THE COMPLETE WORKS OF MARY SHELLEY! ALL THE NOVELS, SHORT STORIES, TRAVEL NARRATIVES, POEMS, CHILDREN'S LITERATURE AND NONFICTION Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is one of the most f...

  • The Mary Shelley Club synopsis, comments

    The Mary Shelley Club

    Goldy Moldavsky

    New York Timesbestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that's Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.Wh...

  • Frankenstein synopsis, comments

    Frankenstein

    Mary Shelley & Maurice Hindle

    One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World''That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York TimesMary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she ...

  • The Vault synopsis, comments

    The Vault

    Peter Lovesey

    “Exquisitely intricate.” The New York Times Book ReviewA skeletal hand is unearthed in the vault under the Pump Room in Bath, England, near the site where Mary Shelley wrote F...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Anne K. Mellor

    Anne K. Mellor (nacida en 1941) es una distinguida profesora de literatura británica en UCLA. Está especializada en literatura del Romanticismo, historia cultural inglesa, feminism...

  • The Villa synopsis, comments

    The Villa

    Rachel Hawkins

    INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!"Hawkins weaves an engrossing tale about betrayal, sisterhood, and the power of telling your own story. Captivating!" ––People"Hawkins is the reig...

  • The Invisible Man synopsis, comments

    The Invisible Man

    H. G. Wells, W. Warren Wagar & Scott Westerfeld

    From the twentieth century's first great practitioner of the novel of ideas comes a consummate masterpiece of science fiction about a man trapped in the terror of his own creation....

  • The Woman Beyond the Attic synopsis, comments

    The Woman Beyond the Attic

    Andrew Neiderman

    “The woman who emerges from these pages is as riveting as her books” (The Wall Street Journal) in this Edgar Award–nominated celebration of the famously private V.C. Andrewsfeaturi...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Carmela Vásquez

    ¿Te imaginas un verano sin calor ni sol ni piscina? Pues así fue el verano en que empezó todo para Mary Shelley.Estaba con unos amigos en Suiza, y se aburrían tanto que uno de ello...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Muriel Spark

    Painting a portrait of a gothic icon, this biography recounts Mary Shelley’s dramatic life, from her youth and turbulent marriage to her career as writer and editor. At the age of ...

  • The King and the Catholics synopsis, comments

    The King and the Catholics

    Antonia Fraser

    In the eighteenth century, the Catholics of England lacked many basic freedoms under the law: they could not serve in political office, buy or inherit land, or be married by the ri...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Anne K. Mellor

    An innovative, beautifully written analysis of Mary Shelley's life and works which draws on unpublished archival material as well as Frankenstein and examines her relationship ...

  • The Life and Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley synopsis, comments

    The Life and Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

    The first volume of Shelley's letters introduces us to her personality and thoughts, and offers an intimate look into the English literary world as it stood at the beginning of the...

  • Mary Shelley synopsis, comments

    Mary Shelley

    Catherine Reef

    This YA biography offers “a thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature’s most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings” (Kirkus).   Most fa...

  • The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry synopsis, comments

    The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry

    Jonathan Wordsworth

    The Romanticism that emerged after the American and French revolutions of 1776 and 1789 represented a new flowering of the imagination and the spirit, and a celebration of the soul...

  • Rest in Pieces synopsis, comments

    Rest in Pieces

    Bess Lovejoy

    A “marvelously macabre” (Kirkus Reviews) history of the bizarre afterlives of corpses of the celebrated and notorious dead.For some of the most influential figures in history, deat...

  • Romantic Outlaws synopsis, comments

    Romantic Outlaws

    Charlotte Gordon

    NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE SEATTLE TIMESThis groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English f...