Mary Shelley was born into a rich literary heritage. William Godwin, her father, was a political theorist, novelist, and publisher. Mary Wollstonecraft, her mother, was a writer and early feminist thinker
Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Mother)
September 9, 1797
Mary's mother passes away due to puerperal fever ten days after her daughter's birth
Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelly Meet
Percy Bysshe Shelly (poet) was one of the people in her father's intellectual circle. The circle also included of William Hazlitt(critic), Charles Lamb (essayist), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet).Mary was 15
Percy and Mary spend the summer of 1814 together
Percy is married, the they still travel together
Percy's Child was Born Prematurely to the Couple
Child died 12 days later
Mary Recorded in her Journal
March 19, 1815
Possible inspiration for Frankenstein: "Dream that my little baby came to life again – that it had only been cold & that we rubbed it before the fire & it lived.”
Percy and Mary Shelley visit the poet Lord Byron
The couple visited the Lord Byron at his villa beside Lake Geneva in Switzerland. When they visited, it was full of stormy weather forcing them indoors. Byron's other guests sometimes read from a volume of ghost stories. One night, Byron challenged his guests to write a scary story themselves. Frankenstein was created
Birth of William
William, the son of Mary and Percy, is born
Mary and Percy Shelley marry
December 30, 1816
The couple married just weeks after Shelley's first wife, Harriet, drowned.
Birth of Clara
Mary gave birth to another daughter, Clara, but she only lived a year
Frankenstein is Published
When Mary was 21, she became a huge success. The first edition of the book had an unsigned preface by Percy Shelley. Many did not believe that she had the capability of writing the novel, and believed that Percy had written it for her
Move from England to Italy
Birth of Percy Florence
Only one of the Shelleys' children that survived past childhood.
William Passes Away at Age 3
The death of William caused Mary to suffer a nervous breakdown.
Percy Shelley Drowns
Percy drowns in the Gulf of Spezia near Livorna. Leaves Mary as a 25 year old widow
Marry and Percy Florence return to England
She devoted herself to her son's welfare and education and continued her carrer as a professional writer.
Mary Shelley Passes Away
February 1, 1851
She lived in England until her death from a brain tumor in Bournemouth. She was 54 years old.