Mary Shelley August 1797 – February 1851
Mary Shelley, born Mary Wollstonecraft was a novelist most famous for her science fiction horror Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818 through her husband’s company. Shelley was born in Britain and grew up with an array of influences, including her father, a philosopher and political writer, and her mother, a famed feminist noted for The Vindication of The Rights Of Women (1792). However, many tragedies occurred in the Wollstonecraft household leading Shelley to become a step daughter to a mother she despised. Some of her siblings were sent away to be schooled whilst Shelley was never formally educated, she enjoyed drawing and writing her own stories as a pass timer but took every opportunity to learn and read as much as possible from her father’s extensive library.
It was through her self-taught studies that she managed to publish her first poem ‘Mounseer Nongtongpaw’, 1807 through her fathers circles. Later in life, through adultery and misfortune Shelley escaped to Europe with her sister Jane and lover Percy Shelley. She wrote the six weeks of adventure as travel writing but were not published until much later due to her actions being considered immoral and dishonest. It wasn’t until Mr and Mrs Shelley visited some friends in Geneva, Switzerland that she started to craft the idea of Frankenstein, her most popular novel yet. She went on to write others including Mathilda (1820), The Last Man (1826), Lodore (1835) and many more. Her stories include internal and external battles amongst families and man, this is likely due to the troubled and confusing childhood she experienced whilst growing up.