Many people know Mary Shelley because of her creation of the monster Frankenstein. What many do not realize is that her life was full of numerous tragic experiences and a number of unusual and fascinating ones as well. Authors must write what they know to be authentic and that is why Shelley’s work is such a unique read.
1. Written During an Affair
Shelley came from an activist family and both of her parents were writers, though her mother died soon after giving birth to her. At the age of 17, when she first began thinking about writing Frankenstein, she was having an affair with a married poet who was a big supporter of her father’s work. During the affair, they even spent a holiday with Lord Byron.
2. A Competition
The inspiration to complete Frankenstein actually came about because of her troubles. Her lover, Lord Byron, and others in the group decided to see who could write the best horror story after several long conversations about the occult. Although we don’t know if the contest winner was ever announced, there’s a good chance that Shelley’s story was a leading contender.
3. A Mysterious Marriage
Shelly would eventually marry the man with whom she was having an affair. This became possible after the wife of her lover was found dead in a lake. The wife had been missing for several weeks at that time and although no one knows the circumstances behind what happened, many suspect that she was killed by her husband because of his relationship with Shelley.
4. A Terrible Reaction
Frankenstein might be considered a classic novel today, but when it was published the critics were far from kind. It was even initially published without Shelley attributed as the author. Once playwriters began adapting the story for theater, however, the novel picked up a lot of popularity. That helped Shelley support her four children, though only one would wind up surviving past infancy.
Her husband would drown at an early age and Mary Shelley would never get re-married. She wrote and edited work for the remainder of her life, giving the world a unique glimpse into her life through the stories she would create.