The life of Mary

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Southern New Hampshire University
Being a woman in the 19th century meant mental restriction from society, even with radical parents like William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Born at the bloodiest time in French history, Mary Shelley was famous before she had produced her most famous work at age 19. Her novel Frankenstein earned Mary Shelley a permanent member of the intellectual circle surrounding Mary and her husband, the poet Percy Shelley. Mary’s own biography reads like a dramatic play with many travels, interactions with other thinkers, and personal tragedy. Her tumultuous marriage ended off the coast of Italy when Percy drowned alongside a comrade while sailing home. Their bodies washed ashore and a veil was lifted from Mary Wollstonecraft’s purpose as an author. She was finally free to shape her own destiny instead of chasing behind her wildly romantic and infamous husband. Mary lived in the shadow of her husband but was given the opportunity to thrive after his passing when she was only 23. In this project I will be taking a critical look at the biographies published about Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her life publishing and creating as a woman. Perspectives differ when compiling a complete history of her life and I will be assessing these discrepancies and the manners in which her life is compared to her formidable husband while comparing critical scholars’ perspectives throughout this paper. (Author abstract)