Friday, October 13, 2006

Mary Shelley and Frankenstein Part II

Mary Shelley incorporated a number of different sources into her work, not the least of which was the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and John Milton's Paradise Lost, the book the creature finds in the cabin, are also clearly evident within the novel.

After Percy Shelley’s drowning in 1822, Mary was tireless in promoting her late husband's work, including editing and annotating unpublished material. Despite their troubled later life together, she revered her late husband's memory and helped build his reputation as one of the major poets of the English Romantic period. But she also found occasions to write a few more novels, including Valperga: The Life and Adventures of Castruccio and Falkner. The Last Man, a pioneering science fiction novel of the human apocalypse in the distant future, is, however, sometimes considered her best work, as is Mathilda, a novella published posthumously.

Mary Shelley died of brain cancer on February 1, 1851, aged 53, in London and was interred at St. Peter's Churchyard in Bournemouth, in the English county of Dorset. At the time of her death, she was a recognized novelist. Her son, Sir Percy Shelley, arranged for her parents to be exhumed and re-buried next to her; he and his wife are also buried there.

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