Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the summer of 1816, staying at Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Mary was only nineteen at the4 time. She wrote the novel while being overwhelmed by a series of difficulties in her life. The worst of these were the suicides of her half-sister, Fanny Imlay, and Percy Shelley’s wife, Harriet (Student Handbook, 190). After these deaths Mary and Percy married. Fierce public hostility toward the couple drove them to Italy. Eventually they were happy in Italy, but their two children William and Clara Shelley died there. Mary never really recovered from their deaths. However, Percy empowered Mary to live as she most desired. In 1822 Percy drowned in a boating accident, leaving Mary penniless. For her remaining years she worked as a professional writer to support her father and son. She died in 1851 of a brain tumor.
Mary Shelley combined the ethical concerns of her parents with the Romantic sensibilities of Percy Shelley’s poetic inclinations. Her father’s concern for the underprivileged influenced her description of the poverty-stricken De Lacey family. Mary’s choice of a Gothic novel made her unique in her family and secured her authorial place in the Romantic period.
Romantics believed that the creative... [continues]
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