Do you know the text The Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) by Mary Wollstonecraft? This early feminist author is Mary Shelley’s mother. Have you heard of utilitarianism or read any anarchist works? William Godwin was one of the first utilitarian authors, one of the first modern authors to champion anarchism. And he was Mary Shelley’s father. Have you read any of the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley? He was Mary Shelley’s husband.
Today, Luna Station Quarterly wishes Mary Shelley (August 30, 1797 – February 1, 1851) a happy birthday. She comes from a family of authors, but she stands out with a name and a legacy all her own. She is more than the daughter of Wollstonecraft’s feminism or Godwin’s political writings. She is more than Mrs. Percy Shelley.
In an 1817 edition to Frankenstein, she recounts her journey to write the text. Through this introduction, she connected her family legacy, her writing and her day dreams, “It is not singular that, as the daughter of two persons of distinguished literary celebrity, I should very early in life have thought of writing.” Yet, she dreamed as much as she wrote and,
“My dreams were all my own; I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed – my dearest pleasure when free.”