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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mary Shelley's Biography
Shelley's Works
Quick Works Summaries
Topics of Related Interests
Photo Album/ Picture Gallery
Time Period
A Strong Woman Says Strong Words...
Other Resources
Works Cited

As in the lives of many other authors, the people in Mary's life exerted a unique influence.

Circle of Friends and Family
Gothic in Nature!
Lord Byron who promoted the ghost stories which incited Shelley to write FRANKENSTEIN when she was only 19 years old.
John Polidori, a master in Eastern European folktales.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Shelley's husband.
Claire Clairmont,  was Mary Shelley's half-sister, and the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Jane Clairmont, his second wife. Claire ran off with Mary and Percy when they travelled to Lake Geneva, and was present when Mary first made up the story of Frankenstein. She ended up in a love affair with Lord Byron, bearing his daughter, Allegra, in January 1817. Claire travelled often with Mary and Percy and spent much time with their family.
John Polidori, was Lord Byron's personal doctor and travelling companion. Present for the contest at Lake Geneva when Mary Shelley first dreamed up the idea of Frankenstein, John Polidori also created a story. His work was the only other to be published (in addition to Shelley's Frankenstein). It was called The Vampyre and was published in 1819.
Fanny Imlay, was the half-sister of Mary Shelley and the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mr. Imlay. She committed suicide in October 1816, rumored to be hopelessly in love with Percy Shelley, her half-sister's future husband.
Harriet Shelley, was Percy Shelley's first wife. While he was still married to her, he ran off with Mary Shelley, leaving Harriet pregnant and alone with their first child. She committed suicide on November 9, 1816 by drowning herself in Serpentine.
In their experiences, there was incest (Byron married his half-sister), cruelty (Percy's first wife drowned herself after his affair with Mary), illegitimate children (Lord Byron's) etc. Therefore, we can see in FRANKENSTEIN, the unnatural father, the violence of a creature that is rejected like an illegitimate child, etc.