Mary Shelley, the famous author of the Frankenstein grew up in London, England and would live there for the entirety of her life. On August 30th, 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin gave birth to a daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Mary, would grow up in a house of writers, her father being a philosopher and political writer, and her mother being a famed feminist. Mary Shelley’s mother wrote the famed “The Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1972, not too long before Mary’s birth. She would never grow to know her mother as she would die not long after her birth. This would bring about a large shift in the home environment Mary would grow up in.
Mary, along with her half-sister, were merged into the family of Mary Jane Clairmont in 1801, with the union between her, and Mary’s father. The half-sister, Fanny Imlay, was born through the affair of her mother and a soldier Mary would never grow to have any kind of meaningful relationship with her half-mother. This would aid in the decision of sending Mary’s sister away for an education, while leaving her without.
The Wollstonecraft family household was a place of many great and inspiring guests, most of which were authors like her father. Some of the guests included Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, both equally famous authors of their time. This perhaps also aided in the inspiration Mary received in becoming the author she did. Though she would never receive any kind of formal education, Mary found education through reading. She would most often be found amongst the tombstone of her mother reading. The self-education would also include frequent writing; her first poem published was “Mounseer Nongtongpaw” in 1807.
As Mary grew older she would spend her summers amongst family friends in Scotland. This is where she would meet her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary met him during her first visit in 1812, and starting a relationship with him in 1814, Percy was still married at the time. To resolve that issue, Percy and Mary would flee England together. For some time they would roam Europe, struggling both financially and emotionally after the loss of their first child in late 1815. That following summer they would find themselves in Switzerland with Mary’s step-mother Jane Clairmont, Lord Byron and John Polidori. In finding entertainment for the group someone suggested they all try a jab at writing a horror story. This is when Mary Shelley would begin to start that famous story, Frankenstein.
That same year Mary would suffer many more losses in her life, including the suicide of her half-sister Fanny, and Percy’s ex-wife a short time later. This allowed Mary and Percy to marry on December 1816. In the year 1818, Frankenstein would be released, with an anonymous author. Mary thought that her being a woman would affect the critic’s views, so she decided to keep it secret until the time was right.