Mary Shelley Romance and Reality: Romance and Reality

Emily W. Sunstein, Author Not Avail $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-82246-6
Few literary reputations have been so distorted by admirers and traducers as that of Mary Shelley, daughter of pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (of whom Sunstein wrote a biography) and radical philosopher William Godwin. Shelley wrote not only the first science-fiction novel, Frankenstein , but the first cosmic-calamity novel, The Last Man. In this first complete biography of her, based on exhaustive research, Sunstein puts things to rights by examining Mary Shelley's copious writings in the light of her life: her intellectually stimulating childhood; her tempestuous eight years with Shelley, as lover and then wife; and nearly three decades as author, literary personality, mother and, to a large extent, social outcast. Despite Sunstein's somewhat spikey prose, this is an absorbing study that tells us a great deal not only about the novelist but about the Shelley-Byron circle. Mary Shelley emerges a strong, talented and high-principled woman, no mere rider on her husband's coattails, but an important Romantic in her own right. Illustrations. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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