Mary Shelley. Photo credit: Bodleian Library, Univ. of Oxford

Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the nineteenth-century novelist Mary Shelley, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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Introduction & Biography

"Shelley's Ghost." A web exhibition of original manuscripts, letters, and other illuminating material for Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, from the Bodleian Library at Oxford and the New York Public Library, covering the themes Shelley and Oxford, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, The Young Shelley, Shelley and Mary, Frankenstein, Shelley's Notebooks, ShelleyÂ’s Last Days, Mary Shelley in England, William Godwin & Mary Shelley, Mary Shelley as Editor, The Poet's Son & Daughter-in-Law, The Shelley Sanctum.

St. Clair, William. The Godwins and the Shelleys: The Biography of a Family (Norton 1989) [complete book available, subscription service, questia].

"Mary Shelley." Introductory articles by faculty and graduate students. The Victorian Web, Prof. George P. Landow, ed.

"Study Guide for Frankenstein." An introduction to the novel and its historical context, from Glenco/McGraw-Hill.

Allen, Graham. "Mary Shelley." The Literary Encyclopedia. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to the poet, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription [sub ser].


Anderson, Robert. "'Alternate Labour and Relaxation': An Introduction." Anderson considers theories of work and leisure time in Frankenstein. Romanticism on the Net 27 (2002).

Austin, Andrea. "Frankie and Johnny: Shelley, Gibson, and Hollywood's Love Affair with the Cyborg." On William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic," Frankenstein, and the connection between the problem of gender identity and artificial intelligence. Romanticism on the Net 21 (2001).

Bissonette, Melissa Bloom. "Teaching the Monster: Frankenstein and Critical Thinking." College Literature 37, 3 (Summer 2010) pp 106-20 [summary only, muse]

Chiu, Frances. "'Dark and dangerous designs': Tales of Oppression, Dispossession, and Repossession, 1770-1800." On the Gothic novel. Romanticism on the Net 28 (2002).

Corbett, Robert. "Introduction" to Romanticism and Science Fictions. A special issue of Romanticism on the Net 21, 2001.

Gigante, Denise. "Facing the Ugly: The Case of Frankenstein." ELH 67, 2 (Summer 2000) pp 565-87 [substantial excerpt, muse].

Goss, Theodora; and John Paul Riquelme. "From Superhuman to Posthuman: The Gothic Technological Imaginary in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis." MFS Modern Fiction Studies 53, 3 (Fall 2007) pp 434-59 [substantial excerpt, muse].

Hogle, Jerrold E. "Frankenstein's Dream: An Introduction." Additional articles by other scholars: "Frankenstein's Cinematic Dream"; "Patriarchal Fantasy and the Fecal Child in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its Adaptations"; "Mocking Stupendous Mechanisms: Romantic Parody and Frankenstein's Dream"; "'Mummy, possest': Sadism and Sensibility in Shelley's Frankenstein." Romantic Circles Praxis Series/Frankenstein's Dream, Feb. 2003.

Law, Jules David. "Being There: Gothic Violence and Virtuality in Frankenstein, Dracula, and Strange Days." ELH 73, 4 (Winter 2006) pp 975-96 [substantial excerpt, muse].

Morgan, Monique. "Frankenstein's Singular Events: Inductive Reasoning, Narrative Technique, and Generic Classification." Romanticism on the Net 44 (2006).

O'Dea, Gregory. "Framing the Frame: Embedded Narratives, Enabling Texts, and Frankenstein." Explores the notion that "In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, we might distinguish three frame sequences: a reading sequence, an action sequence, and a narrative sequence." Romanticism on the Net 31 (2003).

Randel, Fred V. "The Political Geography of Horror in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." ELH 70, 2 (Summer 2003) pp 465-91 [substantial excerpt, muse].

Schor, Esther, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley (Cambridge UP 2003). Chapters on Frankenstein and Mary Shelley's other works [complete book available, sub ser, questia].

General Criticism and Other Works

Albright, Richard S. "'In the mean time, what did Perdita?': Rhythms and Reversals in Mary Shelley's The Last Man." On Mary Shelley's 1826 novel. Romanticism on the Net 13 (1999).

Brewer, William D. "Unnationalized Englishmen in Mary Shelley's Fiction." Romanticism on the Net 11 (1998).

Brewer, William D. "Mary Shelley on the therapeutic value of language." Papers on Language and Literature 30, 4 (Fall 1994) [sub ser, questia].

Campbell Orr, Clarissa. "Mary Shelley's Rambles in Germany and Italy, the Celebrity Author, and the Undiscovered Country of the Human Heart." On Mary Shelley's 1844 travel book. Campbell Orr considers the book as a portrait of Mary Shelley's attitudes and of the era in which it was written. Romanticism on the Net 11 (1998).

Crook, Nora. "Pecksie and the Elf: Did the Shelleys Couple Romantically?" Romanticism on the Net 18 (2000). On the literary collaboration and sexual relationship of Percy and Mary Shelley.

Fisch, Audrey A.; and Anne K. Mellor; Esther H. Schor, eds. The Other Mary Shelley: Beyond Frankenstein (Oxford UP 1993). A collection of literary criticism on Mary Shelley's other works [complete book available, sub ser, questia].

Garbin, Lidia. "The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck: Walter Scott in the Writings of Mary Shelley." Romanticism on the Net 6 (1997). Garbin considers the change in direction, from Gothicism to historical romance, in Mary Shelley's fiction after Frankenstein.

Hilton, Nelson. "Mary Godwin's Remonstrance." Freudian discussion of Mary Shelley, from Nelson Hilton's Lexis Complexes (U of Georgia P 1995).

Hopkins, Lisa. "The Last Man and the Language of the Heart." Romanticism on the Net 22 (2001). On Mary Shelley's use of memory and personal experience in The Last Man.

Hopkins, Lisa. "Memory at the End of History: Mary Shelley's The Last Man." Romanticism on the Net 6 (1997).

Labbe, Jacqueline. "The Romance of Motherhood: Generation and the Literary Text." Labbe compares the use of maternal imagery in the writings of Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson, Mary Shelley, and Maria Elizabeth Robinson. Romanticism on the Net 26 (2002).

Mandell, Laura. "Introduction: The Poetess Tradition." Romanticism on the Net 29-30 (2003).

McEvoy, Emma. "Groundless Metaphors and Living Maps in the Writing of Mary Shelley." Romanticism on the Net 40 (2005).

McKeeverr, Kerry Ellen. "Writing and Melancholia: Saving the Self in Mary Shelley's 'The Mourner'." Romanticism on the Net 14 (1999).

Schierenbeck, Daniel. "The 'silver net of civilization': Aesthetic Imperialism in Mary Shelley's The Last Man." Romanticism on the Net 45 (2007).

White, Daniel E."'The god undeified': Mary Shelley's Valperga, Italy, and the Aesthetic of Desire." Writes White: "Shelley offers a stark reading of the period from the failure of the French Revolution through 1821 as a mutually destructive polemic between a dominant political, social, and aesthetic masculine ideology and its feminine other, a polemic that significantly found its fittest expression and conclusion on Italian soil." Romanticism on the Net 6 (1997).

Bibliography & Web Sites

A hypertext edition of The Mortal Immortal, by Mary Shelley. Ed. Michael Laplace-Sinatra, at Romantic Circles.

A hypertext edition of The Last Man, by Mary Shelley. Edited by Steven Jones, at Romantic Circles.

Harding, Anthony John. "New Texts and Textual Scholarship. Romanticism on the Net 19 (August 2000).

Lawson, Shanon. Nineteenth century reviews of Mary Shelley's books. Romantic Circles.

Mandell, Laura. "Canons Die Hard: A Review of the New Romantic Anthologies." Romanticism on the Net 7 (1997).

Mandell, Laura and Michael Gamer. "On Romanticism, the Canon, and the Web." Romanticism on the Net 10 (May 1998).

Mellor, Anne and Richard Matlak. "Anthologising the New Romanticism." Romanticism on the Net 7 (August 1997).

"Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Chronology & Resource Site." Chronology, Full text of 19th-C Reviews, Bibliography, Other web resources. Romantic Circles.

Romanticism on the Net. Ed. Michael Eberle-Sinatra. An international, peer-reviewed electronic journal devoted to British Romantic studies, an impressive scholarly enterprise that has been making essays freely available since 1996.

Romantic Circles. Eds. Neil Fraistat, Steven E. Jones, and Carl Stahmer. "A refereed scholarly website devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture." An innovative publication on topics in Romanticism.

"A Romantic Natural History." Ed. Ashton Nichols. The relationships between literary works and natural history in the century before Darwin, with articles on Byron and other Romantics.

Book Reviews

Conger, Syndy M. A review of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: An Introduction, by Betty T. Bennett. Romanticism on the Net 28 (2002).

Crook, Nora. Reviews of Mary Shelley's, The Last Man, edited by McWhir, Anne; and Mary Shelley's Lodore, edited by Lisa Vargo. Romanticism on the Net.

Crook, Nora. A review of a new edition of Mary Shelley's Valperga, edited by Stuart Curran. Romanticism on the Net 12 (1998).

Florescu, Radu. A review of In Search of Frankenstein: Exploring the Myths behind Mary Shelley's Monster. (Robson Books, 1996). Reviewed by Stephen Derwent Partington, Romanticism on the Net 7 (1997).

Hunter, J. Paul, ed. A review of The Norton Critical Edition of Frankenstein (1996). Reviewed by Julia Paulman Kielstra, Romanticism on the Net 4 (1996).

Kielstra, Julia Paulman. Reviews of Warren Stevenson's Romanticism and the Androgynous Sublime; and Johanna M. Smith's Mary Shelley Revisited. Romanticism on the Net 6 (1997).

Marshall, Tim. A review of Murdering To Dissect: Grave-robbing, Frankenstein and The Anatomy Literature. Review by Mark Sandy in Romanticism on the Net.

Robinson, Charles E., ed. A review of The Frankenstein Notebooks: A Facsimile Edition of Mary Shelley's Manuscript Novel, 1816-17 (Garland Publishing 1996). Reviewed by Michael Laplace-Sinatra in Romanticism on the Net 6 (1997).

Tomalin, Claire, ed. A review of Lost and Found: Mary Shelley, Maurice, or the Fisher's Cot: A Tale. Romanticism on the Net review by A. A. Markley.

Wolley, Rachel. A review of Iconoclastic Departures: Mary Shelley After 'Frankenstein', by Conger, Syndy M., Frederick S. Frank, and Gregory O'Dea, eds. Romanticism on the Net.

Wordsworth, Jonathan. A review of The Bright Work Grows: Women Writers of the Romantic Age (Woodstock, 1997). Reviewed by Mark Sandy in Romanticism on the Net 22 (2001).

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