Mary Shelley was the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet. Their relationship was both professional and personal. The couple shared the same passion for literature and a circle of close friends.
Mary Shelly was born in 1797 as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in London. Her father was the philosopher and novelist William Godwin. Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, a feminist writer. The mother died soon after her birth. The father raised and educated Mary. Many intellectuals visited their house. The radical poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelly was among them. Mary met him in 1814 when she was 15, and he was 20 years old.
Percy Bysshe Shelly came from a wealthy aristocratic family. He distanced himself from the parents due to his radical views. He was going to donate the family’s money to the “political justice” projects. Percy grew close to Godwin’s family. Mary and Percy started meeting each other in secret. Her father disapproved of their relationship, and the couple eloped to France. They got married in 1816 and had four children. Only one child survived.
Mary and Percy’s relationship was a hard one. The family faced ostracism and constant debt. Percy was seeing other women, and Mary had one difficult pregnancy after another. As the couple traveled around Europe, they developed a circle of close friends. Lord Byron, John Keats, and Leigh Hunt were among them. Percy Bysshe Shelly died in a sailing accident in 1822. Mary returned to England. She committed herself to promote her husband’s works, raise their son, and follow her writing career.