In Search of Mary Shelley: the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged sixteen, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, before early widowhood changed her life forever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, creating two of our most enduring archetypes today. The life story is well-known. But who was the woman who lived it? She's left plenty of evidence, and in this fascinating dialogue with the past, Fiona Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story. She uncovers a complex, generous character - friend, intellectual, lover and mother - trying to fulfil her own passionate commitment to writing at a time when to be a woman writer was an extraordinary and costly anomaly.Published for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, this is a major new work of biography by a prize-winning writer and poet.
Mary Shelley as never before - a new biography that shows the woman behind Frankenstein
If we get another literary biography in 2018 as astute and feelingful as this one, we shall be lucky. * Sunday Times * Sampson is as adept as Frankenstein himself, giving life to a figure who convincingly aches and bleeds ... the landscapes and interiors within which Sampson's subject moves are as crisply rendered as Frankenstein's own plane of Arctic ice. * Guardian * Fiona Sampson is a sleuth of a biographer ... rarely has my jaw dropped on so many occasions while reading a biography. * Daily Mail * Gripping ... Sampson has written a fascinating book * The Times * A daringly swift and enjoyably irreverent retelling of Shelley's life * Observer *