Mary Shelley, writer of the first science fiction novel FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS, was born 220 years ago
Mary Shelley’s portrait by Richard Rothwell
The daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, writer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30, 1797. Her seminal work FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS (1818), often considered the very first science fiction story, created the iconic mad scientist-monster tale.
“Frontispiece to Frankenstein 1831” by Theodore Von Holst (1810-1844) – (Tate Britain. Private collection, Bath. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons)
Though best remembered for her archetypal creation, Shelley wrote six other novels most notably the historicals VALPERGA; OR, THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF CASTRUCCIO, PRINCE OF LUCCA (1823) and THE FORTUNES OF PERKIN WARBECK (1834) and the apocalyptic THE LAST MAN (1826). Her many short stories have been collected in MARY SHELLY: COLLECTED TALES AND STORIES and THE MORTAL IMMORTAL: THE COMPLETE SUPERNATURAL SHORT FICTION. She penned numerous poems, travel narratives and children’s books and also contributed several entries to THE LIVES OF THE MOST EMINENT LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC MEN, which comprised ten volumes of DIONYSIUS LARDNER’S 133-VOLUME CABINET CYCLOPAEDIA (1829–46).
For more info on THE MORTAL IMMORTAL: THE COMPLETE SUPERNATURAL SHORT FICTION, visit the Tachyon page.