Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Novelist Mary Shelley was only nineteen


I'm Barbara Edwards and I read Frankenstein when I was ten years old. I had nighmares for weeks.Frankenstein is not a romance, but considered the first novel in the Romantic Era.The horror story has been redone many times on the stage and screen. Considered a classic, the story is the first to reveal the conflict between science and morality: because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. The author, Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelly, was barely nineteen years old when she wrote it. She was the second wife of lyrical poet Percy Shelley and daughter of two great intellectual rebels, William Godwin and Mary Wollenstonecraft. Her education was broad and wide ranging. Their friends and contemporaries included Lord Byron. Frankenstein created a stir among the famous including Byron, Blake and many others who criticized Shelley’s work. Her work used the theme of Prometheus, but twisted it at the end so the maker died and the creation exiled. What we have come to regard as a classic message, was ripped apart by contemporaries. Even Mary’s husband wrote a fore-piece for the novel that was less than praise. Many years later contemporaries admitted Percy was envious of her creation.She wrote several other novels and short stories, none of which achieved the same success.Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley was a woman unrecognized by her contemporaries, but her creation lives on. She is remembered as the author of a novel valuable in itself but also prophetic of a world to come.

11 comments:

Brenda Whiteside said...

If only she could see how many hundreds of times her work has been reproduced on stage and screen!

Jerri Hines/Carrie James-Haynes said...

I don't believe Shelley never had another book like Frankenstein. Did she? So young to have written something that has never gone out of style.

J L said...

I remember reading this book in a college class & the professor mentioning that MWS, PBS, and Lord ZByron were talking after dinner about the nature of man, God's hand in creation, etc. They challenged each other to write a story about it.

Shelley wrote Ozymandias. Mary wrote Frankenstein. And Byron wrote Childe Harold (I think; can't remember for sure).

I was so impressed by the idea of all these writers sitting around and talking Big Thoughts -- and now I do it with writers, too, at meetings and get-togethers. What fun!

J L said...

Lord Byron, not ZByron.

Sigh. Clumsy fingers!

Laura Breck said...

So sad that her husband couldn't support her work. Hubby and I talked about how people who share the same occupation often run into envy issues. Luckily for me, hubby's an electrical engineer, not a romance writer!

Alison H. said...

I've never read Frankenstein (too scary for me when I was young), but I have to admire a young woman with such depth of imagination.

Barbara Edwards said...

Mary did the one thing I really admire in a writer. She took a plot idea and twited the ending into something that surprised her readers.
Barbara

Jannine Gallant said...

I read Frankenstein in college, still have it on my shelf. You have to admire a woman who pushed the boundries to such an extent!

Karyn Good said...

Mary Shelley lived an extraordinary life! I've never read Frankenstein (too scared) but have long been fascinated by her life and the people she associated with and the often hard times she endured living with Percy Shelley. Indeed, a writer to be admired!

Margaret Tanner said...

Have to say I haven't read Frankenstein either, too chicken. A pity Mary Shelley didn't really get all the recognition she deserved.

Regards

Margaret

Vonnie Davis said...

I was so surprised and awed when I read her "Frankenstein." What a mind she had! What a mind. Too bad her husband was such a self-centered clunker.