Personal and Historical contexts of Mary Shelley and James Whale.... (COMPOSERS OF FRANKENSTEIN)

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Mary Shelley

Personal Contexts:

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on the 30th of August 1797, the only child distinguished parents, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1759 - 1797), a famed author of the world's first feminist tract, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and William Godwin (1756 - 1836) a famous philosopher, political theorist and author of several political works and crime novels. Her mother however, lived not long after Mary's birth due to puerperal fever, dying ten days later. This event became later on became a major theme in her novel, Frankenstein.

From an early age Mary was surrounded and thus influenced by many famous philosophers, writers and poets. In one of her father's literary circles she met Percy Bysshe Shelley, who she would later marry. His influence on her and their journeys together, particularly to Switzerland and France were a major influence throughout Frankenstein. Mary began writing Frankenstein in 1816, at the tender age of 18 and completed it just 11 months later.

Her youthful imagination and inexperience are key influences in the composition of the text. The passage to adulthood was surely a time of searching for self identity; a theme imported into the text, where we see the monster gripped by fears of his own personal identity.

Various events in Mary's life can be identified clearly by two central themes, birth and death. Throughout her life Mary was very concerned with the relationship between these themes. Mary's own mother died shortly after childbirth. Mary began bearing children at the age of 18. She birth to a premature child in 1816, who died just weeks later. The second child survived birth, only to die at the age of three due to malaria. Clara was born next but died prematurely also. Her fourth child, Percy was born and...