Read The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Free Online
Book Title: The Last Man|
The author of the book: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.70 MB
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: March 18th 2010
ISBN 13: 9780486471228
Read full description of the books The Last Man:From the author of Frankenstein comes this apocalyptic tale of a world devastated by plague. Mary Shelley's 1826 roman à clef takes place in the late twenty-first century, as England's last king abdicates and a charmed circle of idealistic political reformers plunges into a maelstrom of war, pestilence, and anarchy.
Shelley wrote this gripping novel after the untimely deaths of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their comrade, Lord Byron. She modeled a pair of characters on the charismatic poets and based the narrator — the sole survivor of a pandemic — on her own persona. This parable of humanity's destruction by plague is widely regarded as a repudiation of Romanticism and its failure to solve the world's problems through art and philosophy. It reflects the ways utopian ideals, unchecked by moral and ethical standards, can shatter society.
Misunderstood by nineteenth-century readers, Shelley's visionary novel disappeared for over a century, only to reemerge to critical acclaim as a precursor of science fiction and a forerunner of modern apocalyptic tales. Novelist Muriel Spark hailed it as the harbinger of "an entirely new genre, compounded of the domestic romance, the Gothic extravaganza, and the sociological novel," and pronounced it Shelley's "most interesting, if not her consummate work."
Read information about the authorMary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, often known as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, travel writer, and editor of the works of her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. She was the daughter of the political philosopher William Godwin and the writer, philosopher, and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
Mary Shelley was taken seriously as a writer in her own lifetime, though reviewers often missed the political edge to her novels. After her death, however, she was chiefly remembered only as the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and as the author of Frankenstein. It was not until 1989, when Emily Sunstein published her prizewinning biography Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, that a full-length scholarly biography analyzing all of Shelley's letters, journals, and works within their historical context was published.
The well-meaning attempts of Mary Shelley's son and daughter-in-law to "Victorianise" her memory through the censoring of letters and biographical material contributed to a perception of Mary Shelley as a more conventional, less reformist figure than her works suggest. Her own timid omissions from Percy Shelley's works and her quiet avoidance of public controversy in the later years of her life added to this impression.
The eclipse of Mary Shelley's reputation as a novelist and biographer meant that, until the last thirty years, most of her works remained out of print, obstructing a larger view of her achievement. She was seen as a one-novel author, if that. In recent decades, however, the republication of almost all her writings has stimulated a new recognition of its value. Her voracious reading habits and intensive study, revealed in her journals and letters and reflected in her works, is now better appreciated. Shelley's recognition of herself as an author has also been recognized; after Percy's death, she wrote about her authorial ambitions: "I think that I can maintain myself, and there is something inspiriting in the idea". Scholars now consider Mary Shelley to be a major Romantic figure, significant for her literary achievement and her political voice as a woman and a liberal.
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