Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, February 10, 2017

Frankenstein Sundae, 284

About the time that William Godwin, Jr. died of cholera in September 1832, young Percy Florence Shelley (about to turn 13), the only surviving child of Bysshe and Mary, entered Harrow School (where the young Byron had also gone). Initially, he was a boarder, but when Mary received a stiff bill for his first term—much stiffer than she’d expected it to be—she applied to the boy’s grandfather Sir Timothy Shelley for help; he refused. So she resolved to move to the area, about a dozen miles northwest of London, so that Percy could become a day student—saving considerable funds in the process.
And in January 1833, she had nearly finished her new novel, Lodore, but it did not appear until April 7, 1835, more than two years later. Much had gone on in those two intervening years—but we’ll return to that a bit later. Let’s take a look at Lodore, her penultimate novel, published not under her name, initially; no, it was By the Author of “Frankenstein”—a designation that lingers in popular culture to this day. Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein and … Most people probably cannot supply anything after the and.
According to editor Fiona Stafford (who prepared the novel for The Novels and Selected Works of Mary Shelley, 1996), the novel was very well received. The critics approved of her decision to move into a more conventional story—a love story, at that. (No more mad monsters killing children!) Sadly, as Stafford notes, Mary’s original manuscript is lost.[1]

[1] (London: William Pickering), ix.

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