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Happy Birthday Mary Shelley

August 31, 2015



Mary Shelley was born 218 years ago today.  Of course, the day of her birth was the beginning of the hideous agonising death of her remarkable mother, Mary Wollstonecraft.

I’ve long been boring people with my belief that the thing that she did about the mad scientist and the body parts has inexplicably obscured her real masterpiece – The Last Man – a disturbingly “Ronseal” title which depicts the extinction of humanity was an eerie slowness and a chilling beauty.  But having read The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, I’m now revising Mary Shelley yet again.

Perkin Warbeck was introduced to me at school as one of two Yorkist pretenders whose name had to be remembered (along with Lambert Simnel) for test purposes.  Warbeck, I was told, spuriously pretended to be Richard Duke of York – younger brother of Edward V and (along with Edward) presumed murdered in the Tower.  A…

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