The mind behind one of the most famous horror books to ever have been written, Mary Shelley has gone down in history as one of the most talented writers. The dark book, “Frankenstein”, contained subjects never before breached on its 1818 publication, and gripped literary fans across the world. While the tale of lost love and science gone wrong is one of the most dramatic out there, Mary Shelley’s own life was just as packed full of drama. From the off, the writer had a very dark fate and over the years, her experiences served to inspire her gothic writings.
The only daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, Mary Shelley was destined to have an upbringing unlike any other. After her mother died when she was just 7 years old, Shelley was put into the care of her sister Fanny, the product of an affair her mother had had some years earlier. After her father remarried, Shelley had another handful of siblings thrown into the mix, expanding her family tree.
While she was noted as being unhappy at times, Shelley displayed a strong interest in writing and literature from a young age. When she was just 10 years old, the young girl printed her first official poem using her father’s publishing business, going on to write many more in the future. Thanks to her home schooling, Mary didn’t suffer from many of the constrictions put on other girls of her age and as a result, she was allowed to flourish intellectually.
As Mary got older, however, things became more complicated. Finding it difficult to get on with her stepmother, the teenager was sent away to Scotland, which later went on to inspire a number of her writings. When she returned home, however, things took a darker turn. After having met one of her father’s admirers, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary promptly fell in love, despite the fact that she was only 15 years old and he was already married. All things against them, the couple eloped, taking Mary’s sister Claire along with them.
Soon, however, things took a turn for the worse. While Mary did have wealth, it was not nearly enough for the couple to live on and soon enough, they fell into debt. To make things more complicated, Mary soon fell pregnant, becoming the object of scorn for all those who had stayed in her inner circle. Her husband, meanwhile, was set on other things, getting in with the crowd of Lord Byron. The cultural climate was one of free love, with Shelley following any of his instincts despite his vows.
Over time, things became even more complicated for the young woman. While her sister was in the midst of falling into an affair with Lord Byron, Mary had her works rejected time and again, in part due to the chauvinist environment in which she found herself. It wasn’t until some years later that she thought up the idea for “Frankenstein” after being inspired during a writing contest.
The rest of the writer’s life was riddled with heartache. Three of her children died before reaching infancy, while her sister suffered at the hands of an unexpected illness. While her husband did stay by her side during their time together, he wasn’t destined to live a long life, eventually drowning while out on a boat in foul weather. Tragedy might have become the writer’s life but she used it to fuel her literary endeavours. While Mary Shelley suffered a dark and difficult life, she has gone down in history as one of the finest writers to ever have lived.