This is the grave of Mary Shelley. Born in London, the second daughter of feminist and writer Mary Wollstonecraft and political journalist William Godwin. Her mother died shortly after Mary’s birth from a hemorrhage sustained either during deliver or by the actions of the midwife.

Unusual for girls at the time, Mary received an excellent education. She published her first poem at the age of ten. At the age of 16 Mary eloped to France and then Switzerland with Shelley. During May of 1816, the couple traveled to Lake Geneva. Apparently inspired by a ghost tale contest among her friends, Mary had what she called a waking dream that became the manuscript for her most famous work, titled ‘Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.‘ 

Mary and Shelley married in 1816 after Shelley’s first wife committed suicide by drowning. In 1818 the Shelleys left England for Italy. Their son Will died in Rome. Mary suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of William, and almost died of a later miscarriage. It was followed by the birth of her only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In July 1822, Percy sailed up the Italian coast and was caught in a storm on his return. He drowned July 8 along with his friend Edward Williams and a young boat attendant. 

Although Mary wrote further novels including ‘Valperga,’ ‘The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck,’ ‘The Last Man,’ and ‘Falkner’ she spent much of her life in promoting her late husband’s work, including editing and annotating unpublished material. She returned to England, never to re-marry. She died in London of what some suspect to be a brain tumor. Her last book, sometimes considered her best work, was ‘Maria’, which was published posthumously.  (Source)

Hooray for Mary Shelley! If it weren’t for her and women like her, I wouldn’t have the major I do (or probably even be in college).

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