Geordie Williamson reviews 'In Search of Mary Shelley: The girl who wrote Frankenstein' by Fiona Sampson

Geordie Williamson reviews 'In Search of Mary Shelley: The girl who wrote Frankenstein' by Fiona Sampson

In Search of Mary Shelley: The girl who wrote Frankenstein

by Fiona Sampson

Profile Books, $34.99 pb, 304 pp, 9781781255285

A healthy suspicion should surround books that arrive neatly on some commemorative due date – in this case, the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is not that biographer Fiona Sampson is less than able and diligent in her efforts to celebrate a novel which has resonated like few others during the long modernity inaugurated by the European Romantics. Nor is it wrong that she should foreground Mary Shelley’s life experience as a woman and a mother as a way of revivifying a text so absorbed into our collective consciousness as to be paradoxically invisible.

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Geordie Williamson

Geordie Williamson

Geordie Williamson is a Picador publisher and the author of The Burning Library: Our greatest novelists lost and found (2011).

Published in August 2018, no. 403

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