Mary Shelley, daughter of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and revolutionary philosopher William Godwin, grew up in a house full of radicals. At sixteen she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a passionate relationship lived on the move across Britain and Europe. Before her early widowhood, Mary had already experienced debt, infidelity, orphanhood, and the deaths of three of her children. It was against this dramatic backdrop - and while she was still a teenager - that she composed the cultural landmark that is Frankenstein. In the process she created two of today's most enduring archetypes. Published to mark Frankenstein's bicentenary, Fiona Sampson's critically acclaimed new biography, In Search of Mary Shelley, sifts the evidence to find the real person behind the clichés.
Fiona Sampson is a prizewinning poet and writer published in more than thirty languages. Her honours include an MBE for services to literature.