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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, (born August 30, 1797, London, England—died February 1, 1851, London), English Romantic novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein.
The only daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she met the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 and eloped with him to France in July 1814. The couple were married in 1816, after Shelley’s first wife had committed suicide. After her husband’s death in 1822, she returned to England and devoted herself to publicizing Shelley’s writings and to educating their only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. She published her late husband’s Posthumous Poems (1824); she also edited his Poetical Works (1839), with long and invaluable notes, and his prose works. Her Journal is a rich source of Shelley biography, and her letters are an indispensable adjunct.
Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus (1818), is a combination of Gothic horror story and science fiction. The book tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student of natural science who creates an artificial man from pieces of corpses and brings his creature to life. Though it initially seeks affection, the monster inspires loathing in everyone who meets it. Lonely and miserable, the monster turns upon its creator, who eventually loses his life.