Mathilda (Shelley Novel) Background

Mathilda (Shelley Novel) Background

Mary Shelley is no doubt best known for her novel called Frankenstein. However, she wrote countless novels and long-form stories. Among those short stories is "Mathilda," which tells the provocative story of a father's incestuous love for her young daughter. Specifically, it follows the woman's alienation from society which resulted from her father's incestuous passion and her struggle to mentally cope with his horrible actions. It's almost a certainty that the death of Shelley's two young children over the course of less than a year informed the novel's dark material. It also reflects the mental anguish and depression Shelley herself was suffering because of the deaths.

To that end, many felt that the book was autobiographical. Many - including her father, who would have been ultimately responsible for the publication of her work - however, felt that the story and the themes of Shelley's work were "disgusting and detestable." Because of this, the book was published over a hundred years after Shelley wrote it. At that point, it received decent reviews and has since become Shelley's second most popular book.

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