Mary Shelley (30 August, 1787 – 1 February, 1851) was an English author who is most widely known for her novel, Frankenstein.
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- Born as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, her mother died only 10 days after giving her birth.
- Mary didn’t have a formal education, however she made great use of her father’s library.
- Mary met poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1814. Percy was a student of her father and was married to his first wife when he and Mary (still a teenager) fled England.
- Shelley was 18 or 19 when she wrote Frankenstein when her and her husband played a game with Lord Byron and his wife where they each had to make up a scary story. Mary told of a dream she had while traveling in Geneva, which was the storyline of the novel.
- In 1815 Mary gave birth to a baby girl who lived for only a few days. The Shelleys suffered the deaths of two more children as well as a marriage riddled with adultery.
- Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus debuted in 1818 and was attributed to an anonymous author. Percy Shelley wrote the introduction and many thought he wrote the novel as well.
- The title character of Frankenstein is actually the scientist, not the monster he created.
- After her husband’s death from drowning (leaving Mary a widow at age 24), Mary Shelly wrote several more novels and devoted herself to promote her husband’s poetry.
- Author Brian Aldiss argued that Frankenstein is the first true science fiction story because the central character “makes a deliberate decision” and “turns to modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve the results.
- A century after Mary’s passing from brain cancer, her novel Mathilda was released.
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This post was originally published as Fun Facts Friday: Mary Shelley on 30 August, 2013.