Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) was born in London, to her
father the writer William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, an
influential social campaigner who died 11 days after the birth of
her daughter. Mary's early life was unconventional and by the age
of 16 she eloped with the then-married Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Amongst their friends were Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron,
the latter of whom offered the challenge to Mary to write a ghost
story which later became Frankenstein.
Fiona Sampson (foreword) is the author of a critically acclaimed biography, In Search of Mary Shelley. She has been published in more than thirty languages and received an MBE for services to literature, as well as a number of national and international awards for her poetry. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.