I usually write posts of less than 500 words. For this assignment I will try for 1000 words by modifying and extending a previous post.
There are two periods in literature that I find interesting. I like the work by some of that period’s writers but more importantly I like the real people who inhabited the day to day world of the writers.
Mary Shelley’s World
- Mary Wollstonecraft. She was Mary Shelley’s mother and one of the first feminists. She eschewed the typical female role of the time and made her own living in the writing and publishing world, was an unwed mother and wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”.
- Fanny Imlay. Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter who was raised for the most part by a step-mother and step-father who had their own children. She must have felt alone and unloved, her mother dying when she was very young. She lived in the shadow of the famous Mary and flamboyant Claire and committed suicide when she was a very young woman.
- Mary Clairmont. The second wife of William Godwin, Mary Shelley’s father, she has not been treated fairly by writers, in my opinion. She raised her own children, probably as an unwed mother although going by the term Mrs. and also raised Godwin’s daughter and step-daughter. She helped support the family in their publishing business as I am not so sure of Godwin as a provider.
- Claire Clairmont. My favourite who threw herself at Lord Byron, had a child by him, went with Mary and Shelley on their honeymoon and may have had an affair with Shelley.
- Mary Shelley. Shelley may have been as attracted to her parentage as anything. Except in literary circles, she is more widely known today than either Shelley or Byron.
- Harriet Shelley. Shelley’s first wife was deserted by her husband who then wanted her to join Mary and him in a menage a trois. Who wouldn’t commit suicide?
- Annaballa Milbanke Byron. Byron’s wife who thought she could reform him. When she couldn’t she ruined his reputation and drove him out of England.
- Ada Byron. Byron’s daughter, she was involved with Charles Babbage in devising the world’s first mechanical computer.
- Augusta Leigh. Byron’s sister with whom he had an affair and probably a daughter.
- Medora Leigh. Bryon’s daughter by Augusta became pregnant by her sister’s husband and ran off to France with him.
- Allegra Byron. Clair Clairmont’s child by Byron died at age 5 in a convent.