Mary Shelley wrote the legendary novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus in 1816. The novel was completed and then published in 1818. The book was revised twice more during Mary’s life, once in 1821 which was the first time Shelley’s name appeared on her novel (previously it was published anonymously), and once more with an introduction by the author in 1831.
Mary was the daughter of two respected and celebrated literary parents. Her mother, a famous feminist, died only a few days after Mary’s birth.
There’s so much about Mary Shelley, born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797, that is remarkable it’s like she lived out a full novel herself. Here are five little-known or discussed facts about this famous author you may not know.
- She was 16 when she ran away from home with a married man (Percy Shelley)
- Her first born was a daughter who was premature and only lived for a few days. Mary wasn’t even 18 when this happened and her grief never really left her.
- A large portion of her journals were lost in Paris. It is said she left them behind by mistake and was very upset to have lost them.
- She kept Percy’s heart after he died. After his drowning in 1822 his body washed ashore and was cremated, as was the norm of the time. But his calcified heart did not burn (some say it was his liver but that doesn’t sound as romantic).
- She helped a transgender couple escape persecution. Mary Shelley, it is suspected from some of her journal notes, was bi-sexual. She helped procure fake ID for two friends – Isabel Robinson and Mary Diana Dods to avoid persecution and run away to Paris to live as husband and wife.