Google has dedicated it’s Doodle today to one of Britain’s most famous writers, Mary Shelley. Mary, who is also an essayist, biographer, travel writer and short story writer, was born in 1797, and has written countless published works.
Her most famous work is one that you will all know in some form: if you didn’t read it as a book or watch one of the many movies, you or your friends will have definitely dressed up as one of the characters for Halloween.
‘Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus’ is a novel she completed when she was just 18 years old, and was published in 1818, when she was just 19. The book, hailed by some as the one of the first in the genre science fiction, was written
In the story, the main character, Victor Frankenstein, is a scientist who finds out how to create like and creates a being, similar to man, yet stronger and bigger. He is, however, so repulsed by the being, that he doesn’t give it a name, leaving the being without an identity, and calls “daemon”, among other things.
Regretting his decision to create the beast, he abandons his creation, who soon sets out to seek vengeance and kills Victor’s younger brother and his new bride Elizabeth, as well as his best friend. Victor follows the “monster” to the Artic, keen to destroy it.
However fails to, and falls in the ice. He falls ill with pneumonia and is picked up by a passing boat. After telling the captain his story, he dies. Upon hearing of his death, the creature mourns Victor and feels rueful of his crimes. He decides to commit suicide in the Arctic so that no one will know of his existence.
Her book has influenced popular culture greatly, even in the nearly 200 years since it’s been published. Mary had also written many other books, published editorials and travel logs, as she loved and often did travel around Europe.
Mary led a very vicarious life: she fell in love and ran away with poet Percy Shelley when she was just 17. Percy, who was married at the time, did not care about his legal bindings to his wife, and was convinced matters of the heart were more important. His wife drowned herself in 1816, just weeks after Mary’s sister had also committed suicide.
Following the death of his wife, Percy and Mary married, and she gave birth to two children in 1818 and 1819, both of whom died. A life haunted by tragedy, Mary lost her husband when he drowned while sailing during a storm in 1822. She also suffered a miscarriage that same year, ClassicLit.com writes.
After a life of literary genius, her last years were plagued by illness. Beginning in her late 40s, Mary would often get headaches and experience partial paralysis in her body. She passed away at the age of 53 from what her doctor suspects was a brain tumor. She was working on her most cherished piece of work at the time: the biography of her beloved husband
We remember Mary Shelley today as we celebrate her 213th birthday.
For a more in-depth biography, please click here.
Find out more about brain tumors.
Singer Bob Marley is one celebrity to have suffered from a brain tumor.
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