, best known for her Gothic novel
Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
(1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet
and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley
. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin
, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay
, were raised by her father.
The last man! Yes I may well describe that solitary being's feelings, feeling myself as the last relic of a beloved race, my companions extinct before me...
At the age of twenty six I am in the condition of an aged person — all my old friends are gone ... & my heart fails when I think by how few ties I hold to the world....
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.
I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling.
There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand. I am practically industrious — painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour — but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore.
What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?
We are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves — such a friend ought to be — do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures.