Biography of Mary Shelley, English Novelist, Author of 'Frankenstein'

Mary Shelley, 1831
Mary Shelley, 1831. Artist: Stump, Samuel John (1778-1863).

 Heritage Images / Getty Images

Mary Shelley (August 30, 1797–Feb 1, 1851) was an English writer, famous for penning the horror classic Frankenstein (1818), which has since been regarded as the first science fiction novel. Though much of her fame is derived from that classic, Shelley left a large body of work that spanned genres and influences. She was a published critic, essayist, travel writer, literary historian, and editor of the work of her husband, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. 

Fast Facts: Mary Shelley

  • Full Name: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (née Godwin)
  • Known For: Prolific 19th-century writer whose novel 'Frankenstein' pioneered the science fiction genre
  • Born: August 30, 1797 in Somers Town, London, England
  • Parents: Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin
  • Died: February 1, 1851, Chester Square, London, England
  • Selected Works: History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (1817), Frankenstein (1818), Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1824), The Last Man (1826), Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men (1835-39)
  • Spouse: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Children: William Shelley, Clara Everina Shelley, Percy Florence Shelley
  • Notable Quote: “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.”

Early Life

Mary Shelley was born in London on August 30, 1797. Her family was of reputable status, as both her parents were prominent members of the Enlightenment movement. Mary Wollstonecraft, her mother, is well-known for writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), a pivotal feminist text that frames women’s “inferiority” as a direct consequence of a lack of education. William Godwin, her father, was a political writer equally famed for his anarchist Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) and his novel Caleb Williams (1794), which is widely considered to be the first fictive thriller. Wollstonecraft died on September 10, 1797, days after giving birth to her daughter, leaving Godwin to look after the infant and her three-year-old half sister, Fanny Imlay, the result of Wollstonecraft’s affair with the American author and businessman Gilbert Imlay.

Mary Wollstonecraft, c1797
Mary Wollstonecraft (circa 1797) was the mother of author Mary Shelley. Painting held at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Artist: John Opie. Print Collector / Getty Images

Mary’s parents and their intellectual inheritance would prove to be a vital influence throughout her life. Mary revered her mother and her work from a young age, and was greatly shaped by Wollstonecraft despite her absence.

Godwin did not remain a widower for long. When Mary was 4, her father remarried his neighbor, Mrs. Mary Jane Clairmont. She brought along her two children, Charles and Jane, and gave birth to a son, William, in 1803. Mary and Mrs. Clairmont did not get along—there was some ill will concerning Mary’s likeness to her mother and her close relationship with her father. Mrs. Clairmont subsequently sent her stepdaughter to Scotland in the summer of 1812, ostensibly for her health. Mary spent the better part of two years there. Though it was a form of exile, she thrived in Scotland. Later she would write that there, in her leisure, she was able to indulge in her imagination, and her creativity was born in the countryside.

As was custom during the early 19th century, Mary, as a girl, did not receive a rigorous or structured education. She only spent six months at Miss Pettman’s Ladies’ School in Ramsgate in 1811. Yet Mary had an advanced, unofficial education because of her father. She had lessons at home, read through Godwin’s library, and would have been privy to the intellectual debates of the many important figures who came to talk with her father: the research chemist Sir Humphry Davy, the Quaker social reformer Robert Owen, and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge were all guests of the Godwin household.

On a visit home to England in November of 1812, Mary met the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley for the first time. Godwin and Shelley had an intellectual but transactional relationship: Godwin, always money poor, was Shelley’s mentor; in return, Shelley, the son of a Baronet, was his benefactor. Shelley had been expelled from Oxford, along with his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg, for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism, and then estranged from his family. He sought out Godwin in admiration of his political and philosophical ideas.

Two years after Mary had left for Scotland, she arrived back in England and was reintroduced to Shelley. It was March of 1814, and she was almost 17 years old. He was five years her senior and had been married to Harriet Westbrook for nearly three years. Despite his matrimonial ties, Shelley and Mary grew close, and he fell madly in love with her. They would meet in secret at Mary’s mother’s grave, where she often went to read alone. Shelley threatened suicide if she did not reciprocate his feelings.

Elopement and Authorial Beginnings

Mary and Percy’s relationship was especially tumultuous at its inauguration. With part of the money Shelley had promised Godwin, the couple eloped together and left England for Europe on July 28, 1814. They took Mary’s stepsister Claire along with them. The three traveled to Paris and then continued on through the countryside, spending six months living in Lucerne, in Switzerland. Though they had very little money, they were very much in love, and this period proved to be extremely fruitful for Mary’s growth as a writer. The couple read feverishly and kept a joint journal. This diary was the material Mary would later fashion into her travel narrative History of a Six Weeks’ Tour.

Mary Shelley Manuscripts Form Part Of An Exhibition At The Bodleian Library
Bodleian curator Stephen Hebron holds a new portrait of Mary Shelley, recently donated to the Bodleian Libraries, as he prepares for Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford latest literary exhibition, with exhibits including Frankenstein manuscript on November 29, 2010 in Oxford, England. Matt Cardy / Getty Images

The trio left for London once they had completely run out of money. Godwin was upset and wouldn’t allow Shelley to enter his home. There was a nasty rumor that he had sold Mary and Claire to Shelley for 800 and 700 pounds each. Godwin did not approve of their relationship, not only because of the financial and social turmoil it caused, but he also knew that Percy was irresponsible and prone to volatile moods. In addition, he was aware of Percy’s fatal character flaw: he was generally selfish, and yet he wanted always to be believed as both good and right.

To Godwin’s judgment, Percy did cause quite a bit of trouble. He was, per his Romanticism beliefs and intellectual pursuits, primarily concerned with radical transformation and liberation, the centering of knowledge through the individual and emotive response. Yet this philosophical approach that begot his poetry left many broken hearts in his wake, apparent from the start of his relationship with Mary—he left his pregnant wife penniless and in social collapse in order to be with her.

Once in England again, money was still the most pressing problem Shelley and Mary faced. They partly remedied their situation by moving in with Claire. Shelley made do by asking others—lawyers, stockbrokers, his wife Harriet and his school friend Hogg, who was very much enchanted with Mary—to lend him money with the promise of retribution, given his ties to the baronetcy. As a result, Shelley was constantly away hiding from the debt collectors. He also had the habit of spending time with other women. He had another son with Harriet, born in 1814, and was often with Claire. Mary was frequently alone, and this period of separation would inspire her later novel Lodore. To add to this misery was Mary’s first cross with maternal loss. She had become pregnant while touring Europe, and gave birth to an infant girl on February 22, 1815. The baby died days later on March 6.

Mary was devastated and fell into a spell of acute depression. By the summer she had recovered, in part due to the hope of another pregnancy. Mary and Shelley went to Bishopsgate, as Shelley’s finances stabilized a bit after his grandfather passed away. Mary had her second child on January 24, 1816, and named him William after her father. 

Frankenstein (1816-1818)

  • History of a Six Weeks’ Tour Through a Part of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland: With Letters Descriptive of a Sail Round the Lake of Geneva, and of the Glaciers of Chamouni (1817)
  • Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)

That spring, in 1816, Mary and Percy traveled with Claire again to Switzerland. They were going to spend the summer at the Villa Diodati with Lord Byron, the famed poet and pioneer of the Romantic movement. Byron had had an affair with Claire in London and she was pregnant with his child. Along with baby William and Byron’s physician John William Polidori, the group settled in Geneva for a long, wet, and dreary season in the mountains.

Villa Diodati
Villa Diodati, near Geneva, where Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley and John Polidori stayed in 1816 creating literary characters of Dracula and Frankenstein, engraving by William Purser. De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images Plus

Shelley and Byron took to each other immediately, building a friendship upon their philosophical views and intellectual work. Their discussions, including talk of Darwin’s experiments, would directly influence Mary’s Frankenstein, which was conceptualized that June. The group had been entertaining themselves by reading and discussing ghost stories, when Byron posed a challenge: each member was to write their own. Not long after, on a fateful, fitful night, Mary witnessed a frightful vision in her dreams, and the idea struck her. She began to write her ghost story.

The group parted ways on August 29. Back in England, the following few months were filled with tragedy: Fanny Imlay, Mary’s half-sister by way of her mother, committed suicide on October 9, 1816, by overdosing on laudanum in Swansea. Then came the news that Harriet, Percy’s wife, drowned herself in Hyde Park on December 10.

This death, painful as it was, left Percy legally viable to wed Mary, who was pregnant at the time. He also wanted custody of his older children, which he was deemed unfit for, and he knew that marriage would improve his public perception. The two were wedded on December 30, 1816, at St. Mildred’s Church in London. The Godwins were present at the event, and their union ended the rift within the family—although Percy never did get custody of his children.

Mary continued writing her novel, which she finished in the summer of 1817, a year after its inception. However, Frankenstein would not be her first published novel—that inaugural work is her History of a Six Weeks' Tour. While finishing Frankenstein, Mary revisited her diary from her elopement with Percy and started to organize a travelogue. The finished piece consists of journalized narrative, letters, and Percy’s poem Mont Blanc, and includes some writing on her 1816 trip to Geneva as well. This form of literature was fashionable at the time, as European tours were popular among the higher classes as educative experiences. Met with a Romantic strain in its enthusiastic tone for experience and taste, it was favorably received, although poorly sold. History of a Six Weeks' Tour was published in November of that year, two months after Mary gave birth to her daughter Clara Everina Shelley. And just over a month later, on New Year’s Day, 1818, Frankenstein was published anonymously.

Frankenstein was immediately a best seller. It tells the tale of Dr. Frankenstein, a student of science, who masters the mystery of life and creates a monster. What follows is a tragedy, as the monster struggles to be accepted by society and is driven to violence, destroying the life of his creator and all he touches.

Mary Shelley Manuscripts Form Part Of An Exhibition At The Bodleian Library
Pages from the original manuscript of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, displayed for the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford literary exhibition on November 29, 2010 in Oxford, England. Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Part of its draw at the time was perhaps the speculation surrounding who had written the book—many believed Percy was the author, as he penned the preface. But regardless of this gossip, the work was groundbreaking. At the time, nothing of its sort had been written. It had all the trappings of the Gothic genre, as well as the emotional swells of Romanticism, but it also delved into the scientific empiricism that was gaining popularity at the time. Mixing visceral sensationalism with rational ideologies and technology, it has since been considered as the first science fiction novel. Mary successfully made a potent funhouse-mirror of the culture of thought during her lifetime: Godwin’s ideas on society and mankind, the scientific advancements of Darwin, and the expressive imagination of poets like Coleridge. 

Italian Years (1818-1822)

  • Mathilda (1959, finished 1818)
  • Proserpine (1832, finished 1820)
  • Midas (1922, finished 1820)
  • Maurice (1998, finished 1820)

Despite this success, the family was struggling to get by. Percy was still evading the duns, and the threat of losing custody of their children was hanging over the couple’s heads. Because of these reasons, along with poor health, the family left England for good. They traveled with Claire to Italy in 1818. First they went to Byron to pass on Claire’s daughter Alba for him to raise. They then traveled throughout the country, reading and writing and sightseeing as they had on their elopement tour, while enjoying the company of a circle of acquaintances. Tragedy, however, struck again with the deaths of Mary’s children: Clara died in September in Venice, and in June, William died of Malaria in Rome.

Mary was devastated. In a similar pattern as her previous experience, she fell into a pit of depression that was alleviated with another pregnancy. Despite recovering, she was severely impacted by these losses, and her mental and physical health would never quite recover. During her period of mourning, she poured all her attention into her work. She wrote the novella Mathilda, a gothic tale of an incestuous relationship between a father and his daughter, which wouldn’t be published until 1959, posthumously.

Mary was overjoyed to give birth again to her fourth and last child, Percy Florence, named for the city they were residing in, on November 12, 1819. She started to work on her novel Valperga, diving into historical scholarship for the first time with her fiction. She also wrote two blank-verse adaptations from Ovid for children, the plays Proserpine and Midas in 1820, though they were not published until 1832 and 1922 respectively.

During this period, Mary and Percy moved around frequently. By 1822, they were living at Villa Magni in the Bay of Lerici in Northern Italy, with Claire and their friends Edward and Jane Williams. Edward was a retired military officer, and his wife, Jane, became the subject of Percy’s utter infatuation. Mary had to cope with both this digression of Percy’s attention as well as another miscarriage that was nearly deadly. Things, however, were about to get much worse.

Percy and Edward had bought a boat to take sailing trips along the coast. On July 8, 1822, the two were set to return back to Lerici, accompanied by boatman Charles Vivan, after meeting with Byron and Leigh Hunt in Livorno. They were caught in a storm and all three were drowned. Mary received a letter addressed to Percy, from Leigh Hunt, regarding the bad weather and expressing his hope that the men had arrived home safely. Mary and Jane then rushed to Livorno and Pisa for news, but were only met with the confirmation of their husbands’ deaths; the bodies washed up to shore near Viareggio.

Mary was completely heartbroken. Not only had she loved him and found an intellectual equal in him, she had given up her family, friends, her country and financial security to be with Percy. She had lost him and all of these things in one swoop, and was in financial and social ruin. There were little prospects for women to make money at this time. Her reputation was in shambles, as there were rumors regarding her relationship with her late husband—Mary was often condemned as a mistress and Percy’s personal killjoy. She had her son to provide for and was unlikely to remarry. Things were quite dire. 

Widowhood (1823-1844)

  • Valperga: Or, the Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca (1823)
  • Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Editor, 1824)
  • The Last Man (1826)
  • The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, A Romance (1830)
  • Lodore (1835)
  • Lives of the most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain, and Portugal, Vol. I-III (1835-1837)
  • Falkner: A Novel (1837)
  • Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France, Vol. I-II (1838-1839)
  • The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1839)
  • Essays, Letters From Abroad, Translations and Fragments (1840)
  • Rambles in Germany and Italy, in 1840, 1842, and 1843 (1844)

Mary had to figure out how to deal with the financial pressures that now fell on her shoulders alone. She lived for a bit with Leigh Hunt in Genoa, and then returned to England in the summer of 1823. Byron helped her out monetarily, but his generosity was short lived. Mary was able to work out an agreement with her father-in-law, Sir Timothy, to support her son. He paid her an allowance with the stipulation that Mary would never publish a biography of Percy Shelley. When Charles Bysshe Shelley, the direct heir to Sir Timothy, died in 1826, Percy Florence became the heir to the baronetcy. Suddenly finding themselves with much greater financial security, Mary traveled to Paris. She met several influential people in this time period—including the French writer Prosper Merimee, with whom she continued an epistolary correspondence. In 1832, Percy went to school at Harrow, to return to his mother after he completed his education. He was not like his parents in terms of intellectual capacity, but his disposition left him a much more contented, devoted person than his restless, poetic parents.

Apart from her son, writing became Mary’s life’s focus. It also became her means to support herself before she had the security of Percy’s baronetcy. In 1823, she wrote her first essays for the periodical The Liberal, which had been founded by Percy, Byron and Leigh Hunt. Mary’s already completed historical novel Valperga was also published in 1823. The story follows 14th-century despot Castruccio Castracani, who became the lord of Lucca and conquered Florence. The Countess Euthanasia, his enemy, must choose between her love for her nemesis or political liberty—she ultimately chooses liberty and dies a tragic death. The novel was received positively, although in its time, its political themes of liberty and imperialism were neglected in favor of the romance narrative.

Portrait Of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Color lithograph portrait of English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822), early 19th century. Stock Montage / Getty Images

Mary also began editing Percy’s remaining manuscripts for publication. He had not been widely read during his lifetime, but Mary championed his work after his death and he became substantially more popular. Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley was published in 1824, the same year that Lord Byron died. This devastating blow spurred her to begin working on her post-apocalyptic novel The Last Man. Published in February 1826, it is a thinly veiled fictionalization of her inner circle, with characters as mirrors of Percy, Lord Byron, and Mary herself. The plot follows the novels’ narrator, Lionel Verney, as he describes his life in the far future, after a plague has devastated the world and England has fallen into an oligarchy. Though it was reviewed negatively and sold poorly at the time for its anxious pessimism, it was revived by a second publication in the 1960s. The Last Man is the first English apocalyptic novel.

In the successive years, Mary produced a wide range of work. She published another historical novel, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, in 1830. In 1831, a second edition of Frankenstein came out for which she wrote a new preface—the 1823 theatrical treatment of the novel, called Presumption, stirred up continuous enthusiasm for the story. Proserpine, the verse drama she had written back in 1820, was finally published in the periodical The Winter’s Wreath in 1832. Mary’s next critical success was her novel Lodore, published in 1835, which follows the wife and daughter of Lord Lodore, as they face the realities of life for single women after his death.

A year later, William Godwin died, on April 7, 1836, which spurred her to write Falkner, published the following year. Falkner is another rather autobiographical novel, centered around the protagonist Elizabeth Raby, an orphan who finds herself under the paternal care of the domineering Rupert Falkner. During this time, Mary also notably wrote for the Cabinet Cyclopedia with Dionysius Lardner, completing five author biographies during the years 1835-1839. She also began a complete edition of Shelley’s poems The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1839), and published, also by Percy, Essays, Letters From Abroad, Translations and Fragments (1840). She toured the continent with her son and his friends, and wrote her second travelogue Rambles in Germany and Italy, published in 1844, about her travels from 1840-1843.

By the time she had reached the age of 35, Mary obtained a comfortable level of intellectual satisfaction and financial security, and was not wanting for relationships. During these years of work, she traveled and met many people who gave her the fulfillment of friendship, if not more. The American actor and author John Howard Payne proposed to her, though she ultimately declined, as he was essentially just not stimulating enough for her. She had an epistolary relationship with Washington Irving, another American writer. Mary also may have had a romantic relationship with Jane Williams, and moved to be near her in 1824 before they had a falling-out.

Mary Shelley (c.1840) by Rothwell
Mary Shelley, 1840. Artist : Rothwell, Richard (1800-1868). Heritage Images / Getty Images

Literary Style and Themes

Literary Pioneer

Mary Shelley effectively created a new genre—science fiction—in writing Frankenstein. It was revolutionary to fuse the already established Gothic tradition with Romantic prose and modern issues, namely the scientific ideals of the Enlightenment thinkers. Her work is inherently political, and Frankenstein is no exception, in meditating upon Godwinian radicalism. Concerned with the age-old theme of hubris, questions of societal progress and aspiration, and the visceral expression of the sublime, Frankenstein remains to this day a touchstone of modern cultural mythology.

The Last Man, Mary’s third novel, was also revolutionary and far ahead of its time, as the first apocalyptic novel written in English. It follows the last man on an earth that has been ravaged by a global plague. Concerned with many sobering societal anxieties, such as disease, the failure of political ideals, and the fallibility of human nature, it was deemed too dark and pessimistic by her contemporary critics and peers alike. In 1965, it was reprinted and revived, as its themes seemed again relevant.

Social Circle

Mary’s husband Percy Shelley was a major influence. They shared journals and discussed their work and edited each other’s writing. Percy was, of course, a Romantic poet, living and dying upon his beliefs in radicalism and individualism, and this movement is exhibited in Mary’s oeuvre. Romanticism followed the idealist philosophers, the likes of Immanuel Kant and Georg Friedrich Hegel, as Europe began to conceptualize sense as it arose from the individual to the external world (instead of the other way around). It was a way of thinking about art, nature and society through the paramount filters of emotion and personal experience. This influence is most present in Frankenstein through the sublime—a kind of pleasurable terror that comes from confronting something bigger than you, like the huge heights of the Swiss mountains and the endless panorama they afford.

It is also nearly impossible to ignore the politics in Mary’s work, although many critics did during her lifetime. As her father’s daughter, she absorbed much of his ideas and the ideas of his intellectual circle. Godwin is labeled as the founder of philosophical anarchism. He believed that the government was a corrupting force in society, and would only become more unnecessary and impotent as human knowledge and understanding grew. His politics are metabolized in Mary’s fiction, and threaded through, notably, Frankenstein and The Last Man.

Mary’s work is also regarded as largely semi-autobiographical. She took inspiration from her friends and family. It is well known that The Last Man’s cast of characters were simulations of herself, her husband, and Lord Byron. She also wrote extensively on the father-daughter relationship, thought to be expressive of her own complicated relationship with Godwin. 

Scope

Mary Shelley was also remarkable in the range in her body of work. Her most famous novel, Frankenstein, is an exercise in horror, in the gothic tradition as well as the harbinger of the science fiction genre. But her other novels extend throughout the gamut of literary traditions: she published two travelogues, which were fashionable during her lifetime. She also wrote historical fiction, short stories, essays, dabbled in verse and drama, and contributed author biographies to Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopedia. She also edited and compiled her late husband’s poetry for publication and was responsible for his posthumous recognition. Lastly, she began but never finished an extensive biography on her father, William Godwin.

Death

From 1839 on, Mary struggled with her health, frequently enduring headaches and bouts of paralysis. However, she did not suffer alone—after Percy Florence finished his schooling, he returned home to live with his mother in 1841. On April 24, 1844, Sir Timothy died, and the young Percy received his baronetcy and fortune and he lived then on very comfortably with Mary. In 1848, he married Jane Gibson St. John and had a happy marriage with her. Mary and Jane much enjoyed each other’s company, and Mary lived with the couple in Sussex, and accompanied them when they traveled abroad. She lived the last six years of her life in peace and retirement. In February of 1851, she passed away in London at the age of 53, from a suspected brain tumor. She was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Bournemouth.

Legacy

Mary Shelley’s most obvious legacy is Frankenstein, a masterpiece of a modern novel that spurred a literary movement to engage with the complicated web of societal mores, individual experience, and the technologies one faces in a uncompromisingly "progressive" civilization. But the beauty in that work is its flexibility—its ability to be read and applied in multiple ways. By our current cultural thought, the novel has been revisited in discussions ranging from the French Revolution, to motherhood, to slavery, to Silicon Valley. Indeed, partly due to its theatrical and cinematic iterations, Mary’s monster has evolved with pop culture for centuries and remains an enduring touchstone.

Frankenstein Double Feature
Movie Poster for Frankenstein Double Feature. Bettmann / Getty Images

Frankenstein was listed by BBC news in 2019 as one of the most influential novels. There has been a plenitude of plays and movies and TV adaptations of the book, such as the play Presumption (1823), Universal Studios’ Frankenstein (1931), and the film Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)—not including the extended franchises that involve the monster. Several biographies have been written on Mary Shelley, notably the 1951 study by Muriel Spark and Miranda Seymour’s biography from 2001. In 2018, the movie Mary Shelley was released, which follows the events that led up to her completion of Frankenstein.

But Mary’s legacy is wider than just this one (terrific) achievement. As a woman, her work was not given the same critical attention that male writers received. It has even been hotly debated whether or not she wrote—or was capable of writing—Frankenstein. Only recently has much of her work been revived and even published, nearly a century after its completion. However, despite facing these enormous biases, Mary made a successful career of writing in a variety of genres for more than 20 years. Her legacy is perhaps then the continuation of her feminist mother's legacy, in making her opinions and experiences known at a time when women were not readily educated, and advancing the entire literary field with her words.

Sources

  • Eschner, Kat. “The Author of 'Frankenstein' Also Wrote a Post-Apocalyptic Plague Novel.” Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Institution, 30 Aug. 2017, www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/author-frankenstein-also-wrote-post-apocalyptic-plague-novel-180964641/.
  • Lepore, Jill. “The Strange and Twisted Life of ‘Frankenstein.’” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 9 July 2019, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-strange-and-twisted-life-of-frankenstein.
  • “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mary-wollstonecraft-shelley.
  • Sampson, Fiona. In Search of Mary Shelley. Pegasus Books, 2018.
  • Sampson, Fiona. “Frankenstein at 200 – Why Hasn't Mary Shelley Been given the Respect She Deserves?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Jan. 2018, www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/13/frankenstein-at-200-why-hasnt-mary-shelley-been-given-the-respect-she-deserves-.
  • Spark, Muriel. Mary Shelley. Dutton, 1987.