Mary Shelley: Biography

Mary Shelley

30 aug 1797

Horror and excitement strike us when we hear the name ‘Frankenstein’. A pioneer to all the gothic novels and imaginary monsters, ‘Frankenstein’ remains to be the most widely read and it still acts as a base for many movie adaptations. Mary Shelley is the master mind behind this extraordinary creation.

Born as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in London on Aug 30, 1797, she got various credentials such as novelist, short-story writer, biographer, essayist, travel writer and dramatist. Mary’s parents were great writers and philosophers. When Mary was less than 1 month old her mother died. She was raised by her father William Godwin. William tried to make his daughter happy by giving everything she wished.

Mary Shelley gained knowledge from her father. This informal education and the acquaintance of many intellectual people who were her father’s friends, gave her the wisdom which even great universities cannot provide.

Although Mary had a step mother, they did not have a great bonding. In 1816, without the consent of her father, Mary married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Percy was a romantic poet and philosopher. Mary and Percy supported each other for their living.

Once when Mary was in Geneva, Switzerland, what started as a competition among friends to write ghost stories later planted the idea of Frankenstein in Mary’s mind. Even though Mary has showcased her talent by writing many novels, travel books and biographies, it was her novel ‘Frankenstein’ or ‘The Modern Prometheus’ which made her known to the world. ‘The Last Man’ is also considered to be her best work.

After the death of her husband Percy, Mary started focussing on her career and devoted her time in raising her son. Though Mary concentrated on her novels, she also helped in editing and promoting the works of her husband. Legendary Mary Shelley died on Feb 1, 1851 at the age of 53 due to brain tumour leaving behind all her valuable creations.