Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mary Shelley Was Ms. Interesting

Mary Shelley
I was reading a book by the philosopher Peter Singer and he mentioned a nineteenth-century guy named Godwin who proposed a crazy thought experiment in which you are outside a burning building and inside is a famous author and also your father who is the author's valet and you have to decide whether to save the author or your father and Godwin said you should save the author because morality requires impartiality and impartially the author will bring a greater amount of happiness and well-being to the world than your father ever would.

I went home and I looked up Mister Godwin and I found out that he was the husband of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft and the father of Mary Shelley author of Frankenstein one of the most philosophical novels ever written (IMHO) and a book I've always taken to be profoundly critical of the impartial worldview and I also learned that not only did Mary run away with Percy Shelley when she was seventeen and he was married and write Frankenstein when she was twenty she also wrote other novels including one about father-daughter incest which she sent to her father Mister Godwin and he never sent it back despite her begging and pleading because he thought it was disgusting and it never was published 'til after he died.

Also she had a "non-exclusive" marriage with Percy and a miscarriage and two children who died young and then finally another son who lived and as we all know her husband died young but Mary lived long and unlike all the "Mr. Interestings" out there she spent a huge amount of her time taking care of her son and making money for his school fees and moving to Harrow on the Hill (don't ask me) so that her son could attend Harrow without paying boarding fees and later she lived with her son and traveled with him and his wife and meanwhile she wrote a bunch of books and stories and political stuff and edited some of her late husband's work.

You can read all about it on Wikipedia here.

 We love you, Ms. Shelley.

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