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Young Mary Shelley (pdf)
Fiction & Literature

Young Mary Shelley (pdf)

Summary

Inspirational story of a girl with no formal education, no support from parents, living at a time repressive to women, and nevertheless, by age eighteen, she is able to complete a novel featuring what would become the best-known monster of all time.

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This is an inspirational story of a young woman who had not one day of formal education, received no support or encouragement from her parents, lived at a time repressive to women (even Jane Austen did not put her name on Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice in fear they would not be accepted or get published). Nevertheless, by age fifteen Mary has begun collecting ideas and keeping notes for her first novel. She is partly motivated to be a writer by the fact her mother wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (the first book on the liberation of women in the English language) and then, five years later, died giving birth to Mary—causing Mary to feel responsible for her mother’s death and to strive to give continuation to her mother’s life by becoming a writer and advocate for women’s rights.

  Mary sneaks into her father’s study at night and does the best she can to educate herself. At age sixteen, two men propose marriage, but she declines. These experiences are a turning point in her young life. For the first time, Mary feels like a woman and has a sense of her power. She knows she is not fully mature, but also that she is no longer a child.

 The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is attracted to the flirtatious sixteen-year-old and falls in love. She soon realizes that she is in love with him. Although married, he and Mary decide to run away to Switzerland. When the couple returns to England, Mary is barred from communicating with anyone in her family and is ostracized by polite society. Yet, now she is part of a group of poets, novelists, playwrights, and journalists.

 At age seventeen, Mary continues working on her novel, Frankenstein. She and Percy Shelley are forced to flee to Italy to avoid indictment for being radicals. When she returns to England, she finishes Frankenstein (at age eighteen) and uses her popularity to lecture on women’s rights and the education of girls. Frankenstein becomes an international best-seller and is made into numerous stage plays in England and France during Mary’s lifetime.

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  • Catherine Smith
    22 Jan 2020

    Wonderful descriptions and a strong storyline. I couldn't put it down.


  • Evelyn Guilarmi
    18 Jan 2020

    A riveting story, filled with sadness and joy. Mary Godwin (Shelley) was an amazing person.


  • Edward Armstrong
    19 Jan 2020

    I was amazed at how many Regency poets and writers that Mary Shelley knew so intimately. An astonishing story of overcoming great barriers and (finally) finding a degree of contentment and happiness. Tragic and beautiful.


  • Josephine Defalion
    22 Jan 2020

    This is the book for those who love the Romantic Period in English Literary history. Filled with an accurate portrayal of 19th Century England with its great poets and its social unrest, the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the demise of the hand-weaver's occupation, the rising opposition to the ruling aristocracy and King (as occurred in France), and -- more intimately -- the trials and tribulations of a young girl (a genius) during the time when women were repressed. The life of young Mary Shelley reveals it all, in wonderful descriptions and heart-breaking episodes, culminating in a true victory of one spirited young lady over the seemingly insurmountable barriers of her time. An epic journey.