Frankenstein: Biography: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London, England, on August 30, 1797. Unfortunately, family tragedy plagued Mary for most of her life. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died shortly after giving birth to her in 1797. Later, as a young adult, Mary was forced to deal with issues of adultery and suicide in her family. In 1814, she eloped with the married poet, Percy Shelley, and in 1816, after the suicide of his wife, Mary and Percy were married and decided to move to Italy. Shelley conceived of the story of Frankenstein, her most famous work, during an eventful night out-of-doors near Lake Geneva and through the troubling nightmare that followed. The novel was published in 1818. In Italy, the young couple had children, and for the first time in her life, Mary's life seemed relatively stable. Soon, however, this stability was lost when her husband, Percy, drowned. Though many believe that Mary grew up believing in women's political and social freedom, these opinions seemed to change after the death of her husband, which left her dependent on others. Though she wrote other novels (including The Last Man in 1826, The Sisters of Albano in 1828 and Lodore in 1835), most of her adult life was spent carrying out the traditional female roles of caring for her father and raising young Percy, her one surviving son. Shelley grew old quickly, and died as an invalid in 1851.

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