Mother - Mary Wollstonecraft famed writer, educator and feminist A Vindication of the Rights of Women Argued that women are only inferior because of their lack of educational opportunities. She envisioned a society based on reason and rationality.
Father – William Godwin Anarchist Philosopher Novelist Journalist Atheist dissenter
Growing Up – The Stepmother Mother died 10 days after birth Father remarried – Mary Jane Clairmont A shady character with 2 illegitimate children Educates her own 2 children “better” than Mary
Education Governess – Louisa Jones raised her during her early years Father Free access to his library “Published” her first piece at the age of 11 Many famous guests visited her father
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Mary and her stepsister once hid under the sofa to hear him recite his famous poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” This poem later influenced her as she wrote Frankenstein.
Percy Shelley Godwin’s frequent visitor Married to Harriet Shelley Well-known romantic poet and lyricist
The Scandal Percy fell deeply in love with Mary Wollstonecraft-Godwin. They ran away together while Percy’s wife was pregnant with his child. After the child’s birth, Harriet Shelley committed suicide in a lake in London. Mary and Percy married three weeks later.
“Romantic Beyond Romance” Traveled - Italy Switzerland, Germany, Studied literature, language, music & art
Always a Dark Side Percy Narcissistic (excessive self-love) “Free love” theory Affair with Mary’s stepsister Claire Mary 3 children in 5 years 2 die as infants, Will as a toddler Birth and death become primary thoughts in Mary’s mind
Lord Byron Friend - Lord Byron As the result of an affair, fathered a child with Clair Clairmont Known for his Romantic Period poetry The “Byronic” hero
The Challenge While vacationing in Switzerland with Lord Byron, the friends agreed to a story challenge. Hollywood’s “Frankenstein”
FRANKENSTEIN “My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me …I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together— I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital.”
Interestingly…. Mary titled the novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. She did not put her own name on the 1818 edition. Mary finally received credit when she wrote the introduction and published the 1831 edition.
A Year of Tragedy In 1822: Claire’s daughter dies at the convent where her father has sent her. Percy saves Mary from bleeding to death following a miscarriage. Caught in a storm, Percy dies while boating.