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The Psychological Origins of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein When one thinks of a book such as Frankenstein one thinks of it as purely a horror story and not much else However there is far more to the story than is first apparent Shelley has effectively mixed the horror genre with some autobiographical elements Mary Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft two notable English thinkers Wollstonecraft died days after Marys birth leaving her in the care of William and a nanny named Louisa Three years later Louisa was fired for being in an illicit relationship with one of Williams students After William remarried Mary was sent to Scotland to live with the David Baxter family Meanwhile William became friends with the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley When she was sixteen Mary returned to London Sometime later she and Shelley became lovers despite the objections of Marys parents and Shelleys wife Harriet They eloped to Paris taking Marys half-sister Jane with them The trio then traveled to Switzerland where Mary became pregnant and Jane and Percy became lovers They soon returned to England to find themselves mired in scandal Mary soon gave birth to a daughter Clara who died two weeks later Mary threw Jane out of her home Jane who had changed her name to Claire and had begun to pursue Lord Byron invited Percy and Mary to accompany her and Byron to Switzerland There the four spent the coldest summer of the century engaging in intense conversation reading ghost stories and other various activities It was there in Switzerland on June 15 that Mary conceived of the idea of Frankenstein Six months before writing Frankenstein Mary had given birth a second time to a baby boy that she named William She wrote her novel during her third pregnancy at the age of only nineteen Her deepest subconscious fears about the death of her
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