These three works of fiction - two by Mary Wollstonecraft, the radical author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and one by her daughter Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein - are powerfully emotive stories that combine passion with forceful feminist argument. In Mary Wollstonecraft's Mary, the heroine flees her young husband in order to nurse her dearest friend, Ann, and finds genuine love, while Maria tells of a desperate young woman who seeks consolation in the arms of another man after the loss of her child. And Mary Shelley's Matilda - suppressed for over a century - tells the story of a woman alienated from society by the incestuous passion of her father. Humane, compassionate and highly controversial, these stories demonstrate the strongly original genius of their authors.
Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the daughter of pioneering thinkers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, eloped with the poet Percy Shelley at the age of sixteen. Three years later, during a wet summer on Lake Geneva, Shelley famously wrote her masterpiece, Frankenstein. The years of her marriage were blighted by the deaths of three of her four children, and further tragedy followed in 1822, when Percy Shelley drowned in Italy. Following his death, Mary Shelley returned to England and continued to travel and write until her own death at the age of fifty-three.