Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
(1797 - 1851)
Before her writing career began, Mary Shelley was best known for being the brilliant daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, as well as for being an entirely scandalous teen, absconding across the Channel with her already married poet lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who she fell in love with during meetings at the cemetery where her famous mother was buried. After his wife died by suicide, the writers wed in 1816. In 1945 the editor of a book of Mary Shelley’s letters wrote, “A collection of the present size could not be justified by the general quality of the letters or by Mary Shelley’s importance as a writer. It is as the wife of Shelley that she excites our interest and arouses our desire to know as much about her as we can.” Decades later, Frankenstein has become one of the most famous books of all time, inspiring dozens of films and, like quixotic before it, infiltrating the English lexicon itself.