Fiction's most famous monster was the creation of a nineteen-year-old woman, Mary Shelley. Inspired by a challenge to write a ghost story on a rainy day in Geneva, she made her mark on history with Frankenstein. It was a bestseller when published in 1818 and has haunted our imaginations ever since.
The daughter of radical philosopher William Godwin and pioneering feminist Mary Wollstencraft, Mary Shelley lived an unconventional life which was dogged by tragedy. At sixteen she eloped with the poet Shelley, but after only a few years of marriage he drowned and Mary faced decades of widowhood.
However, this remarkable biography shows that Mary Shelley was much more than a wife, daughter and author of one successful book. She went on to survive her husband by nearly thirty years and to support herself and her son as a writer, producing works such as the futuristic allegory 'The Last Man'.
Here Muriel Spark explores the fascinating life and work of an astonishing woman.