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Beyond Frankenstein: the collaborative literary relationship of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley

Mercer, Anna 2016. Beyond Frankenstein: the collaborative literary relationship of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley. Keats-Shelley Review 30 (1) , pp. 80-85. 10.1080/09524142.2016.1145937

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The essay introduces my research as a doctoral student working on the collaborative literary relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It demonstrates the importance of an unbiased approach to both authors, showing that the complex nuances of a literary collaboration mirror that of any human relationship: antagonisms exist within a wider context. Collaboration provides the experience of the other author to offer support, creating an atmosphere conducive to productivity. Thus PBS’s corrections of MWS’s Frankenstein manuscript (for example, addressing her as ‘Pecksie’, a discussion of which opens the essay) are no more condescending and inflammatory than MWS’s criticism of PBS’s ‘purely imaginative’ works, his ‘huntings after the obscure’ in his idealist poetry. The Shelleys’ shared aim was to make their creative productions the best they could be. By looking beyond Frankenstein, at evidence of collaboration in the Shelleys’ other writings (for example, PBS’s ‘The Witch of Atlas’, The Cenci, MWS’s Matilda and editorial work), we can rethink what collaboration really meant for the Shelleys and evaluate their reciprocal literary relationship. This is crucial within the context of existing Shelley criticism, and (mis)perceptions of the Shelleys in popular culture.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 2042-1362
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2019 12:34

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