Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Mary Shelley was propelled into fame while still a teenager because of her powerful and "gothic" novel Frankenstein. This novel and several facts about the author's personal life have kept her in the public eye since her death. Though Frankenstein has long been a subject of scholarship, Mary Shelley has been little studied directly in relation to the great literary movement, Romanticism, in which she participated Romantic literature is pervaded by numerous political and aesthetic tensions, in particular the paradox of the ideals of genius and fellowship. In many of the Romantic works readers and scholars will find that the poets largely consign themselves to achieving one of these ideals, namely genius, at the cost of sacrificing the other, fellowship. The poets themselves either did not believe this paradox was reconcilable or did not seek for an alternative resolution.

Mary Shelley emerges from the Romantic tradition to become it's critic. In her works Frankenstein and The Last Man she explores the Romantic paradox and suggests possible reconciliation to a seemingly irreconcilable tension. Mary Shelley, the person and author, was an important member of the Romantic circle, though she often transcends their The Voice Unbound: Mary Shelley's Vision of Romanticism ideals. Growing Mary Shelley scholarship is a testimony to her long deserved recognition as more than just the author of one of the era's most famous novels.