A Literary Life
By John Williams
(Palgrave Macmillan, Hardcover, 9780312228323, 222pp.)
Publication Date: August 2000
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This comprehensive overview of Mary Shelley's life as an author frequently reads like an anthology of extracts from some of the most lurid and sensationalist novels of the early 19th century. After the stormy years of her relationship with Percy Shelley ended in his tragic death, Mary went on to raise her one surviving son, never sure of the loyalty of friends and threatened and intimidated by her dead husband's father. Shelley is known best as the author of Frankenstein, and an important function of this book is to reassess her achievement as the author of seven novels, innumerable short stories, biography, travel writing, and as the first editor of Percy Shelley's poetry and prose.
John Williams is Reader in Literary Studies at the University of Greenwich.