First Advisor

Alastair Hunt

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors






Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) -- Criticism and interpretation, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) -- Authorship, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) -- Biography




Mary is a creative thesis told in first-person vignettes spaced throughout Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s entire life. The work seeks to function as a creative biography, fictionalized but exploring the very real and impactful interpersonal relationships she held dear. Mary Shelley was an incredibly multifaceted person. She was at turns daring and iconoclastic, reserved and private, outgoing and adventurous, deeply depressed and bitter. She worked through much of her personal trauma and turmoil in her novels. She had trauma in spades. Three of her four children died young. Her mother died giving birth to her. Her beloved elder sister committed suicide. Her husband drowned, leaving her a single mother for the majority of her life.

Mary Shelley is arguably most known for being the author of Frankenstein, and the wife of famed Romantic poet Percy Shelley. I sought to understand her as more than that. Through extensive biographical research and study of her novels, I feel that I got to know Mary Shelley as a near-tangible person. Though her work was largely fictional, she explored many aspects of her daily life within them. For example, a portrait of her friend and famed poet Lord Byron is provided as Lord Raymond in The Last Man. Her feelings of abandonment and alienation from her father is explored in Mathilda. I desired to write as she did: to probe and inspect the real within the context of fiction. Through the fictionalized perspective of Shelley herself, I wrote key events in her life: the death of her husband, her suspected sapphic affair with friend Jane Williams, her meeting with her much-despised step-mother.


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