Biographies 2018-01-18T14:57:34+00:00

Biographies

Works about the life of Mary Shelley and works about the lives of her friends and family.

Mary Shelley

Romantic Circles’ Mary Shelley Chronology & Resources.
https://www.rc.umd.edu/reference/chronologies/mschronology/mws.html

A chronology of Mary Shelley’s life and work with several contemporary reviews of her novels, as well as reviews of the plays inspired by Frankenstein.

Romantic Circles’ Mary Shelley Biography.
https://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/frankenstein/MShelley/bio

A concise overview of Mary Shelley’s life and career.

Bennett, Betty T. Mary Shelley: An Introduction. Johns Hopkins UP, 1998.

Bennett expands the introduction she wrote for the Pickering & Chatto multi-volume edited collection of Shelley’s works, offering a new reading of Frankenstein in the context of Shelley’s career as well as a glimpse of Shelley as a cosmopolitan and reformist writer.

Johnson, Barbara. A Life with Mary Shelley. Stanford UP, 2014.

A series of collected essays that detail the famed critic’s interest in Shelley and women’s studies, alongside other feminist critics and friends.

May, Antoinette. The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein. Lake Union Publishing, 2015.

A biography emphasizing Mary’s difficult life, her steadfast love for Percy, and the notoriety of the “free love” lifestyle of the Shelleys and Byron.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. Routledge, 1989.

One of Shelley’s most important critics gives a feminist account of her life and writings.

Morrison, Lucy. A Mary Shelley Encyclopedia. Greenwood, 2003.

A compendium of alphabetically-arranged entries on Shelley’s works, family, friends, characters, homes, and more.

Seymour, Miranda. Mary Shelley. Trafalgar Square, 2000.

A well-reviewed, recent biography that emphasizes Mary’s acute, shrewd intelligence as well as her occasional irritable temper at her husband’s infidelities, while paying a good amount of attention to her life after his death.

Spark, Muriel. Mary Shelley: A Biography. Carcanet Press, 2013.

An updated and revised version of the Scottish novelist’s 1951 biography.

Sunstein, Emily. Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality. Little, Brown & Co., 1988.

A literary biography emphasizing Mary’s life and writing in her own right, with attention to the textual achievements throughout her career.

Mary Shelley and Her Circle

Carlson, Julie A. England’s First Family of Writers: Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley. Johns Hopkins UP, 2007.

A group biography arguing that the work of the three writers can best be understood within the context and values of family.

Gordon, Charlotte. Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley. Random House, 2015.

A joint biography that alternates between mother and daughter, highlighting their revolutionary and feminist lives and writings.

Hay, Daisy. Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron, and Other Tangled Lives. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2010.

A group biography of the so-called “second generation of Romantics” structured around the friendships of Mary, Percy, Byron, Leigh Hunt, John Keats, as well as other figures including Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont.

Hebron, Stephen and Elizabeth C. Denlinger. Shelley’s Ghost: Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family. Oxford UP, 2011.

A companion to the Shelley’s Ghost exhibit at the New York Public Library, replete with pictures of archival material that the book draws on to shape its narrative about the Shelleys. This exhibit was first shown at the Bodleian and later at Dove Cottage.

Hobbler, Dorothy and Thomas. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein. Little, Brown and Company, 2009.

A biography focusing on those egotistical “monsters”–William Godwin, Mary Jane Godwin, Lord Byron, and John Polidori–that shaped Mary’s life.

St. Clair, William. Godwins and Shelleys: The Biography of a Family. W. W. Norton & Co., 1989.

Drawing on the family’s archives, St. Clair traces a rich intellectual history of the Godwins’ and Shelleys’ contemplation of the political and philosophical ideas of England and Europe in the wake of the French Revolution.

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