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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
A meeting of Literary Minds
Frankenstein was created and completed here by Mary Shelley
Location: 87-89 Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury, W1
Description: The romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his 2nd wife, Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), lived in an apartment at 26 Marchmont Street (now 87-89), London WC1, in 1815, where their first child was born (and died) and where Frankenstein was completed. Mary's sister-in-law, Claire Clairmont, Byron's lover, also lived there with them at this address.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 July 8, 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is widely considered to be among the finest lyric poets of the English language. He is perhaps most famous for such anthology pieces as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy.
However, his major works were long visionary poems including Alastor, Adonais, The Revolt of Islam, Prometheus Unbound and the unfinished The Triumph of Life. He was married to the novelist Mary Shelley (his 2nd wife).
On July 8, 1822, less than a month before his 30th birthday, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm while sailing back from Livorno to Lerici in the schooner, Don Juan. Shelley claimed to have met his Doppelgnger, foreboding his own death.
Shelley's body washed ashore and later, in keeping with quarantine regulations, was cremated on the beach near Viareggio. Shelley's heart was snatched from the funeral pyre by the novelist Edward Trelawny; Mary Shelley kept it for the rest of her life, and it was interred next to her grave at St. Peter's Church in Bournemouth. Shelley's ashes were interred in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome under an ancient pyramid in the city walls with the Latin inscription, Cor Cordium (Heart of Hearts), and a few lines from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Mary Shelley (ne Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 1 February 1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish Percy Shelley's works and for her novel Frankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelleys achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837).
Mary Shelley's works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the Mary Shelley's last years were blighted by illness. From 1839, she suffered from headaches and bouts of paralysis in parts of her body, which sometimes prevented her from reading and writing. On 1 February 1851, at Chester Square, she died at the age of 53 from what her physician suspected was a brain tumour.