MARY SHELLEY’S MELODRAMATIC LIFE Melodrama- an art form that does not observe laws of cause and effect, and that exaggerates emotion and emphasizes plot at the expense of characterization 1797-1851 Mother: Mary Wollstonecraft Pioneer feminist Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women Father: William Godwin Philosopher Author of Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and The Adventures of Caleb Williams Forefather of the modern anarchist movement
MELODRAMATIC LIFE CON’T Wollstonecraft died 11 days after Mary’s birth Father remarried in 1801 No formal education Spent 2 years in Scotland Met Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 Went to France in July 1814 Came back to England in September 1814
MELODRAMATIC LIFE CON’T Moved to Geneva in 1816 where Percy and Mary were finally married Frankenstein published in 1818 Moved to Italy in 1818 Percy Florence, only surviving child, born in 1819 Percy Shelley died in 1822 Mary moved back to England in 1823 Focus on the upbringing of her child and writing Died in 1851 from a brain tumor
FRANKENSTEIN : SHELLEY’S MASTERPIECE Romanticism- a tendency in prose of poetry to rebel against the strictures of classicisms and to exult in imagination, grotesquerie, untamed nature, gothic details, coincidence, symbolism, individualism, love of liberty, faraway places and melancholy Gothic Literature- romantic writing that highlights isolated or ominous locales; large, rambling structures; implied danger to isolated or vulnerable characters; and horrific distress or menace, such as mysterious disappearances or deaths, supernatural manifestations, omens, unexplained events or an atmosphere of terror and suspense Frame Story- employs a narrative technique whereby an introductory main story is composed for the purpose of setting the stage for a fictitious narrative or organizing a set of shorter stories, each of which is a story within a story. The frame story leads readers from the first story into the smaller one within it.
FRANKENSTEIN : W HY THE H ECK DO WE S TILL R EAD A N OVEL P UBLISHED O VER 190 YEARS AGO ? Themes Intolerance Prejudice Vengeance Compassion Considered a landmark Romantic/Gothic novel Set the stage for modern science-fiction writing Discusses the human condition