Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died of puerperal fever 10 days after giving birth to her daughter. Mary's labor lasted 18 hours and then it took four hours to remove the rest of the placenta. She was one of the first feminists, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), and the novel The Wrongs of Woman, in which she wrote: "We cannot, without depraving our minds, endeavour to please a lover or husband, but in proportion as he pleases us." In the intellectual circles of London, her acquaintances included the painter Henry Fuseli, Erasmus Darwin, Charles's grandfather, and William Blake, who illustrated an edition of her book, Original Stories from Real Life.
Mary Shelley's father was the writer and political journalist William Godwin, who became famous with his work An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793). Godwin had revolutionary attitudes to most social institutions, including marriage. In feminism he found an "amazonian" element. Among his other books is Things as They Are, or The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794).
In her childhood Mary Shelley was left to educate herself amongst her father's intellectual circle, the critic Hazlitt, the essayist Lamb, the poet Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who came into Godwin's circle in 1812. Godwin took a second in 1801, but Mary never learned to like her. In 1812 Godwin sent her to live in Dundee. Mary published her first poem at the age of ten. At the age of 16 she ran away to France and Switzerland with Shelley; they had met at the end of 1812. Percy and Mary married in 1816 - Shelley's wife Harriet had committed suicide by drowning. Their first child, a daughter, died in Venice, Italy, a few years later. In HISTORY OF SIX WEEKS TOUR (1817) the Shelleys jointly recorded their life. Thereafter they returned to England and Mary gave birth to a son, William.
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