Cover image for A Mary Shelley encyclopedia
A Mary Shelley encyclopedia
Morrison, Lucy, 1971-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xx, 539 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR5398.A2 M67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Frankenstein is one of the most popular classroom texts in high school and college, and Shelley's other works are attracting renewed attention. This reference is a comprehensive guide to her life and career. Included are hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries about her works, friends, relatives, residences, fictional characters, allusions, and more.

Mary Shelley has only recently emerged from the shadows of her famous parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, and that of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Today, Frankenstein (1818, 1831) is one of the most popular classroom texts in high school and college, and Mary Shelley's other works are attracting renewed attention. These works reveal much about the Romantic literary period and Shelley's ongoing development as a writer. In addition to her novels, Shelley wrote short stories, poems, and dramas. These texts illustrate the difficulties of a shifting literary marketplace, while her travel writings illuminate her rich personal experiences and keen intellect. This reference is a comprehensive guide to her life and career.

Included are hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries about her works, friends, relatives, residences, fictional characters, allusions, and more. Some entries briefly identify and contextualize their topics, while others offer more extensive discussions. Many entries cite sources of further information, and the volume closes with a bibliography. The work is fully cross-referenced and includes a detailed index and an appendix that discusses the sources of Shelley's quotations.

Author Notes

LUCY MORRISON is Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. She has published articles in Studies in Philology, Studies in Short Fiction , and the Keats-Shelley Review , among others.

STACI L. STONE is Director of Humanities at Murray State University.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mary Shelley is famous as, first, the author of Frankenstein and, second, as the wife of a famous poet and daughter of a famous novelist and philosopher. Due in no small part to Frankenstein's place on high-school and college reading lists, her other works have been reprinted in recent years. This has resulted in a reassessment and an emergence of Shelley from the shadows of her great work and her family. Exploring these other works leaves one with a sense of an incredible life story and intellect that Frankenstein barely revealed. This encyclopedia provides readers of Shelley's works with a context--it offers information on her family, friends, residences, and more, as well as entries on her works, characters, influences, and themes. It boasts in the introduction of containing textual footnotes to nearly all aspects of Shelley and her works. For example, the entry Prometheus mentions the Greek mythological figure but also the uses the myth was put to by Percy Bysshe Shelley (in, for example, Prometheus Unbound, 1820) and the reinvention of the myth by Mary in her most famous novel (subtitled or, The Modern Prometheus). The entries are the short type one expects of an encyclopedia, fully cross-referenced (in bold type) and factual. The design is somewhat confusing, especially in entries where there is a lot of cross-referencing; also, one is left wondering about the need for the two appendixes of quotes used by Shelley. The comprehensive bibliography of works referenced in the encyclopedia entries makes for a very useful glimpse of Shelley, her works, the influences, and scholarship. This volume is recommended for academic and large public libraries. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This reference by two professors of English is an exhaustively comprehensive A-to-Z listing of all subjects that refer to Mary Shelley's life and work. Maintaining that novels like The Last Man, Perkin Warbeck, and Valperga are just as important as the legendary Frankenstein, the editors include many entries that focus on the once-neglected works. They also include geographical areas that Shelley traveled to or is associated with as well as information about family and friends. The entries vary in length, from very brief to rather long, and include a number of cross references. While there is a biographical entry for Shelley, it would have been more helpful to include as well a chronology of key events in her life either as an appendix or as an opening. Clearly, this reference will be of most use to scholars, especially since Shelley studies now concentrate on the author's less-famous works. Readers needing criticism on particular novels will not find much in this volume and should instead consult critical reference sets, such as those by Gale, or other scholarly compendiums. For graduate-level collections only.-Morris Hounion, New York City Coll. of Technology Lib., Brooklyn (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Perhaps best known for Frankenstein (1818), Mary Shelley merits recent renewed attention exemplified by the publication of this first reference guide to her life and literary work. In addition to novels, her writings include poems, plays, short stories, biography, and travel writings, which together provide new insights into the Romantic literary period and social movements of the early 19th century. Entries, arranged in alphabetical order with frequent cross-references in boldface, cover Shelley's works from her fictional characters to her literary influences and allusions. Beyond her writings, readers will find illuminating references to Shelley's relatives (including, of course, her husband Percy Bysshe and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft), friends, and residences, as well as historical figures, works of art, significant place-names, and relevant events of the time. Thorough citations and annotations to references in Shelley's individual works recommend this handbook to literary scholars. Two appendixes list quotations: those that Shelley attributes to their authors and those that are unidentified. An extensive bibliography and index enhance the book's utility. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Academic and large public libraries. J. Ariel University of California, Irvine