Mary Shelley

Graham Allen (University College Cork)
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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on 30th August 1797 to William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, two of literary London’s most famous radical writers, during the revolutionary decade of the 1790s and five months after her parents’ marriage in St. Pancras Church. A few hours after Mary’s delivery Godwin was informed by the midwife that the after-birth had not been expelled. Godwin’s terror at the prospect of losing his wife led him to enlist the aid of various doctors (some of them personal friends) who decided to remove the placenta surgically piece by piece. The effect of these radical, scientific steps was that Wollstonecraft contracted puerperal fever and died on 10th September. William St. Clair comments:

If Mary’s childbirth had been left to nature, if Godwin had been

2308 words

Citation: Allen, Graham. "Mary Shelley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2004 [, accessed 13 June 2024.]

5179 Mary Shelley 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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