Speaker: Anna Mercer, Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies
International Women's Day celebration event
This lecture introduces the author of Frankenstein as more than just a ‘one-hit wonder’. That text, which she referred to as ‘my hideous progeny’, is her most famous novel and Frankenstein’s influence on the world of English Literature and popular culture is immense. Although she is one of the best-known female authors because of that book, most people know little about her life and other work.
Mary Shelley led an exceedingly dramatic life. The daughter of illustrious literary parents, the mistress and then wife of the radical poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a friend of Lord Byron, her fascinating backstory is worthy of close consideration. Mary came to write the story of Victor Frankenstein’s gruesome creation in the summer of 1816, now infamous in its literary eminence; in Geneva, 200 years ago, a ghost story competition gave an 18-year-old girl a terrifying vision...
But what else did Mary Shelley do, and more importantly, what else did she write? A truly prolific author, Mary penned (amongst other things), five more novels, a novella, numerous poems, plays, short stories and travelogues. She kept a journal, and when her husband died, she took on the colossal task of editing his works. She was constantly writing and studying; it was the staple of her existence.
Anna will present Mary Shelley as a visionary author. Her dedication to a literary life makes her one of the greatest contributors to Romantic literature. As well as discussing Mary Shelley’s role in the history of women’s writing, she will also show how her manuscripts demonstrate her creative talent.
Speaker biography: Anna Mercer is an AHRC-funded PhD candidate at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York. She has also studied at the University of Liverpool and Jesus College, University of Cambridge. Her research explores the literary collaboration of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley, focusing on the textual connections between their works. She won the runner-up Keats-Shelley Essay Prize in 2015. She is organising a conference on the works of the Shelleys that will take place in London later this year. She is also the current Blog Editor for BARS (the British Association for Romantic Studies).
Find out more about the Shelley conference 2017 https://theshelleyconference2017.wordpress.com
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