Romantic poets, selected poems: context links Contents
Mary Shelley's birth, upbringing and education
Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in London in 1797, the only daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Her mother died only ten days after Mary was born and she was brought up by her father and his second wife, the widowed Mary Jane Clairmont, whom Godwin married in 1801 and whom Mary disliked. She revered the memory of her mother and craved love and attention from her father, who was a reserved and unemotional man, absorbed in his work. Although Godwin was interested in new theories of education, he made little effort to apply them to the upbringing of his daughter. Nonetheless, it was a very intellectual household, often visited by leading writers of the period, and Mary read widely and learned Latin, Greek, French and Italian.
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