Mary Shelley’s shocking, tragic, and some say autobiographical tale of incestuous love.
Confined to her deathbed, Mathilda narrates the story of her life. It is a tale of sweeping emotion, shameful secrets, and wretched love.
Her mother having died in childbirth, Mathilda is raised by her aunt until the age of sixteen, at which point she happily returns home to live with her father. But he turns deeply melancholic when a young suitor begins to visit Mathilda at their London home, and the idyllic life parent and child once shared turns sour.
Pushed to confess his all-consuming love for his own daughter, Mathilda’s father bids her farewell before shame drives him to drown himself. Finally, after years of solitude and grief, Mathilda’s hope for happiness is renewed in the form of a gifted young poet named Woodville. But while his genius is transcendent, and he loves Mathilda dearly, the specter of her father still lingers.
Though Mary Shelley wrote Mathilda in 1819, directly after the publication of Frankenstein, her father and publisher, William Godwin, refused to print it. Nearly a century and a half later, in 1959, the manuscript was finally published and has become one of Shelley’s best-known works.
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