No-one in the grip of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, with its mythic-minded hero and its highly sympathetic monster who reads Goethe and longs to be at peace with himself, can fail to notice how much more excellent the original is than all the adaptations, imitations and outright plagiarisms which have followed in its ample wake. In her first novel, written at the instigation of Lord Byron and published in 1818, Mary Shelley produced English Romanticism's finest prose fiction.
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About the Author
Mary Shelley (nee Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 - 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father's political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.
Angela Carter (1940 -1992) wrote nine novels and numerous short stories, as well as nonfiction, radio plays, and the screenplay for Neil Jordan's 1984 movie The Company of Wolves, based on her story. She won numerous literary awards, traveled and taught widely in the United States, and lived in London.
Wendy Lesser is the author of His Other Half: Men Looking at Women through Art, Pictures at an Execution, and A Director Calls (Faber and Faber, UK, 97), a bio. of Stephen Daldry. Lesser was also editor of Hiding in Plain Sight: Essays in Criticism and Autobiography. Her latest book, The Amateur, is an intellectual biography in which she explores the intersection of art and experience (Pantheon, 99). A winner of the Pen/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing in 1997, Lesser lives in California where she is the editor of The Threepenny Review.