History of Mary Shelley



Birth of Mary Shelley

August 30, 1797

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

February 1815

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.”

Birth of William

January 1816

William, the son of Mary and Percy, is born

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

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

Move from England to Italy


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

William Passes Away at Age 3


The death of William caused Mary to suffer a nervous breakdown.

Birth of Percy Florence


Only one of the Shelleys' children that survived past childhood.

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.

Percy Shelley Drowns


Percy drowns in the Gulf of Spezia near Livorna. Leaves Mary as a 25 year old widow

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.