SPIRIT LIKE A STORM: The Story of Mary Shelley by Calvin Craig Miller

SPIRIT LIKE A STORM: The Story of Mary Shelley

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The brilliant and beautiful 16-year-old daughter of a famous and controversial couple runs away with a married man. The man's pregnant wife commits suicide. The story has barely begun. Miller (Boris Yeltsin, 1994, etc.) can be forgiven for a somewhat breathless tone in this biography. He clearly outlines Mary Shelley's complex relationships with her father, William Godwin; her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley; her extended family, and above all, her devotion to the memory of the mother she never knew, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of The Vindication of the Rights of Women. He also strives to give a coherent picture of her scholarly and intellectually passionate life in the midst of travel, love affairs, gossip, pregnancies, the tragic deaths of many of her children, and her husband's early, fatal drowning. In all this swirling detail, it is easy to lose the key to why this biography counts: At 19, Shelley forged her father's social theory and her age's new science in the crucible of her imagination to create a new genre, science fiction, with her novel Frankenstein. A few small errors of fact notwithstanding (e.g., Leghorn and Livorno are the English and Italian names for the same city), Miller paints her life in quick, vivid strokes. Readers looking for a source on the creator of Frankenstein's monster will be seduced by this fabulous and romantic true story.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 124pp
Publisher: Morgan Reynolds