Women who Made History in Literature: “There is love in me the likes of which you’ve never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.” Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley

Born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30, 1797, in London, England, was the daughter of philosopher and political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft — the author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) – who died when Mary was a newborn.

When she was only 16 years old, she fell in love with Percy Shelley, who was married. They ran away together and started living together in London, under deplorable financial conditions. Their marriage was believed to be very complicated, as Percy Shelley lived a very promiscuous life.

Mary had a life of losses and abandonment – one of the most heartbreaking ones her baby girl after birth. It is believed that it was her experiences of loss and despair – as well as her interest in science – that lead her to write Frankenstein (her most important novel).

As any woman in her time, Mary Shelley did not get immediate recognition for her work. The first edition of her book was published anonymously, and authorship was attributed to her husband, who wrote the preface. Still, her father, who was also a famous writer himself, made sure the second edition would come with her name.

The legacy of Frankenstein

Is remarkable. There are dozens of movie adaptations and plays celebrating the famous character (which is often confused with the monster, but it is, in fact, the doctor’s name, Victor Frankenstein, who is the protagonist and narrator of most of the story). Mary Shelley was only 20 years old when she published it.

Today, Frankenstein is considered one of the first sci-fi novels, since it introduces the use of technological themes in literature. It is also associated with a classic Gothic horror novel genre. Another novel by Shelley, The Last Man, is also usually pointed at the first true science fiction novel.

Mary Shelley, if alive, would be completing 223, on August 30. Let’s celebrate it by showing our respects for her amazing legacy!

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See too: Great Characters Series – Episode 4 How is a great character crafted?