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  • Published: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9780976658375
  • Imprint: Melville House
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $16.99

Mathilda



THE ART OF THE NOVELLA SERIES

With its shocking theme of father-daughter incest, Mary Shelley’s publisher—her father, known for his own subversive books—not only refused to publish Mathilda, he refused to return her only copy of the manuscript, and the work was never published in her lifetime.

His suppression of this passionate novella is perhaps understandable—unlike her first book, Frankenstein, written a year earlier, Mathilda uses fantasy to study a far more personal reality. It tells the story of a young woman whose mother died in her childbirth—just as Shelly’s own mother died after hers—and whose relationship with her bereaved father becomes sexually charged as he conflates her with his lost wife, while she becomes involved with a handsome poet. Yet, despite characters clearly based on herself, her father, and her husband, the narrator’s emotional and relentlessly self-examining voice lifts the story beyond autobiographical resonance into something more transcendent: a driven tale of a brave woman’s search for love, atonement, and redemption.

It took more than a century before the manuscript Mary Shelley gave her father was rediscovered. It is published here as a stand-alone volume for the first time.

  • Published: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9780976658375
  • Imprint: Melville House
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $16.99

About the author

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was born in London on 30 August 1797. Her mother, the celebrated feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, died a few days after her birth.Her father, William Godwin, a well-known anarchist and atheist writer, tutored Mary. In 1814, when she was sixteen, she fell in love with the married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and they eloped to France. In 1816 the couple travelled to Lake Geneva to spend the summer with the poet Byron. Mary was inspired to write Frankenstein after Byron arranged a ghost story competition during their stay. In the autumn of 1816 Shelley's pregnant wife drowned herself in the Serpentine in Hyde Park and Shelley immediately married Mary. The couple had four children together but only one son survived infancy. They lived in Italy until Percy's death in a boating accident in 1822. Mary continued to write until her death in London on 1 February 1851. She is buried in Bournemouth.

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