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Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

Why should you read Frankenstein? It's the first modern horror novel, inspiring generations of scary stories and science fiction. Also, it's just really good. This book made Mary Shelley famous enough that she didn't even need to publish her name on future books - just "The Author of Frankenstein."

Mary Shelley, The Last Man (1826)

In this novel, a terrible plague is exterminating mankind. Shelley was the one of the first writers to imagine the mass-extinction-by-disease plot device that so many authors have explored since. This gripping book can also be read as a story about the death of Romanticism.

Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert, eds., The Journals of Mary Shelley (1995)

Mary Shelley lived a dramatic life, and she was not sorry about any of it. When she returned to England after her husband's death in Italy, many of her well-intentioned friends tried to sanitize the scandalous details of her life to protect her reputation. She would have none of it. In these journals, the woman who lived with fearless honesty opens up her private world.

Miranda Seymour, Mary Shelley (2001)

Seymour's clear, concise biography of Mary Shelley looks at her drama-filled life and tries to answer the question: How did a nineteen-year-old manage to write one of the greatest books in English literature? We may never know the whole answer, but Seymour's biography is fun reading.

Lyndall Gordon, Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft (2005)

Gordon's acclaimed biography brings Shelley's pioneering feminist mom to life. You couldn't make up a better character than Mary Wollstonecraft - a passionate, world-traveling iconoclast who hobnobbed with some of the 19th century's most intriguing figures. Though she died when Mary Shelley was only ten days old, Mary Wollstonecraft's legacy was a powerful influence in her daughter's life.

Laurie Sheck, A Monster's Notes (2009)

This unusual novel imagines Frankenstein's monster alive and living in New York City. The monster is a voracious reader who reflects on the tangled, unconventional lives of the people who created him. Sheck is a poet, and her experimental novel can be enjoyed whether you're a fan of Shelley or not.

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