Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist best known for her Gothic horror novel, “Frankenstein.” The book has inspired many movies and has become one of the best-known monster stories of all time. Shelly married Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816.
Shelley’s parents were philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote “The Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1792. Shelley’s mother died shortly after Mary’s birth.
Mary and Percy Shelley were traveling in Switzerland in the summer of 1816 with friends, including Lord Byron, when one rainy day, after reading ghost stories, Lord Byron suggested they each write their own horror story. That’s when Mary Shelley began writing her famous novel, whose full title is “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.” In 1817, Shelley published a travelogue of her European travels, called “Europe, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour.” In 1818, “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” was published as a new novel by an anonymous author.
Mary and Percy Shelley had three children, of whom only one, Percy Florence, survived past childhood. Shelley became a widow at age 24 when her husband drowned in a sailing accident in 1822.
Shelley wrote several other books, including “The Last Man,” the historical novel “Valperga,” and the autobiographical “Lodore .” She also wrote the plays “Prosperine” and "Midas.” Her last novel, the autobiographical “Mathilde,” was published after her death from brain cancer in 1851.