ADVANTAGES

The daughter of the two great intellectual rebels of the 1790s, and , Mary Shelley (née Godwin) was born on 30 August 1797 in London. Eleven days after her birth, her mother, the celebrated author of (1792), died of puerperal fever, leaving Godwin, the author of (1793), to care for Mary and her three-year-old half sister, Fanny Imlay (to whom he gave the name Godwin). Godwin could find no words to articulate his grief at the loss of the woman with whom he had fallen passionately in love thirteen months before, at the age of forty. In spite of their ethical opposition to the institution of marriage, he and Wollstonecraft had married only five months earlier in order to give their child social respectability.

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