Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, better known as Mary Shelly, was an English novelist who wrote one of the most iconic Gothic novels of all time: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. But she didn’t only wrote Frankenstein, she invented the whole science-fiction genre with it. But apart from how iconic she was in the literary way, she had a life full of hardship and crazy moments. For that reason, in the anniversary of her death, we give you 5 facts about Mary Shelly that show how she lived her extremely gothic life.
1. She learned how to write by tracing the letters on her mother’s headstone
Mary Shelly’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the most important writers of the eighteenth century and activist for the rights of women, died of childbirth complications. So Mary Shelly was taken to her mother’s gravestone in the Saint Pancras’ Churchyard from a very young age. Since they shared the same first name, Mary learned how to write her name from tracing the engraving on her mother’s headstone.
2. She did more than just learning how to write there
Other than starting her literary career on her mother’s grave, it is also believed that (according to her future husband’s, Percy Shelly, diary) they also had sex there, meaning that Mary Shelly lost her virginity on a cemetery — and on her mother’s grave, no less — which just takes the crown for the most gothic thing to have ever happen in history.
3. She kept Percy’s heart on her desk
The thing I said before about that being the most gothic thing ever? Yeah, I take that back, because this is the most gothic thing ever. After her husband Percy died in 1822 from drowning due to his boat getting caught on a storm, Mary Shelly kept his heart (which had not burn during his cremation adding another level of crazy to this story).
4. She got inspiration for Frankenstein from a dream
Dark events not only followed Mary Shelly on her day-to-day life, it also followed her to her dreams. Her famous novel Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare she had where she saw a manufactured corpse on the ground coming to life.
5. She ran away from home and got disowned for a while
Mary eloped with Percy Shelly (who was married at that time) when she was only 16 years old. When they returned home, they were refused entry into Shelly’s home and even ignored when William Godwin(her father) saw them in the street.
Do any of these facts surprise you?