In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein

In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein Review

We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detail—the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, within days of her birth; the upbringing in the house of her father, William Godwin, in a house full of radical thinkers, poets, philosophers, and writers; her elopement, at the age of seventeen, with Percy Shelley; the years of peripatetic travel across Europe that followed. But there has been no literary biography written this century, and previous books have ignored the real person—what she actually thought and felt and why she did what she did—despite the fact that Mary and her group of second-generation Romantics were extremely interested in the psychological aspect of life.


In this probing narrative, Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes. Sampson has written a book that finally answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later. No previous biographer has ever truly considered this question, let alone answered it.

Title:In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the release of Frankenstein, Fiona Sampson examines the inner influences and background of wr...

  • Paula Bardell-Hedley

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is remembered above all for creating a monster - the grotesque but perceptive creature from her 1818 novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus – although, at the t...

  • leynes

    This book will always hold a special place in my heart. I attended a reading at Shakespeare and Company (the most famous English bookshop in Paris) where Fiona Sampson read and discussed her work In S...

  • Beth Bonini

    There are three strands to Mary Shelley’s life which biographer Fiona Sampson returns to again and again: first, there is the legacy of her famous feminist mother Mary Wollstonecraft - ‘taking for...

  • Imi

    Oops. I've just noticed the next episode of this online has expired. I guess that makes this officially a DNF.I was listening to the BBC Radio 4 abridged audio version. I thought it would be interesti...

  • Penny

    4.5It's a brave biographer who sets out her stall so openly, her object being -"to bring Mary closer to us, and closer again until she's hugely enlarged in close-up. I want to see the actual texture o...

  • Louise

    The “girl” of this sub-title made a life altering decision at age 16 that set in motion a dizzying (for its time and ours) 8 year partnership with poet Percy Blythe Shelley. Fiona Sampson traces M...

  • Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged 16, she eloped with Percy Bysshe...

  • Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Saint of sadnessBecause her best-known book has become a cultural touchstone, and the outlines of its writing are already known, it is easy to turn Mary Shelley into a character in her o...

  • Aimee

    The information about Mary Shelley was great, but I really struggled with the writing style.The present tense narration felt strange for a non-fiction book, and the author romanticises her subject rat...