The Shelleys’ collaborative literary relationship never had a constant dynamic: as with the nature of any human relationship, it changed over time. In Dr. Anna Mercer’s research she aims to identify the shifts in the way in which the Shelleys worked together, a crucial standpoint being that collaboration involves challenge and disagreement as well as encouragement and support. Dr. Mercer suggests despite speculation about an increasing emotional distance between Mary and Percy, the shift in collaboration is not so black-and-white as to reduce the Shelleys’ relationship to one simply of alienation in the later years of their marriage.
The last stage production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I saw was a wonderful experience. The Royal Opera House’s ballet version of the novel was captivating and reflected the text’s themes of pursuit and terror with a striking intensity.[i] I’m always wary of adaptations of things I love, but after my positive experience at the ballet in London, I decided to go along to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when I was visiting New York. This new production by Ensemble for the Romantic Century was held in the Pershing Square Signature Center, a lovely venue. But the play itself was a disappointment overall, with only a few redeeming features.
Professor Sharon Ruston of Lancaster University is offering a free online course through Future Learn called "Humphry Davy: Laughing Gas, Literature, and the Lamp". These types of course are fun and informative. If you are interested in Shelley you will want to learn more about Davy because Shelley studied him closely. Shelley was one of the last great polymaths - he was well versed with a range of subjects that dwarfs most of his famous contemporaries. Science was one of them. To understand Shelley fully, you need to understand his interest in science - this course can help you to do this.
I was very excited to hear that Shelley's poem Ozymandias features prominently in the new movie in the Alien franchise: Alien: Covenant. The poem's theme is woven carefully into the plot of the movie, with David (played again by Michael Fassbender) quoting the famous line, "Look on my works ye mighty and despair." What immediately drew me to Zac Fanni's excellent article was his discussion of the Ozymandias scene. However, what I found amounted to so much more. We are offered a kaleidoscopic array of classic romantic allusions including some which are more obvious, for example Frankenstein and Rime of the Ancient Mariner; and some that are decidedly less so: Shelley's Alastor makes an unexpected appearance!
One of the great things about studying Shelley is where it can take you if you are intrepid. In the course of his short life he traveled to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Devon, France, Switzerland and Italy - and some of the places he visited are among the most sublime and picturesque in Europe. Join Anna Mercer for a trip to Shelley's Mont Blanc!
P B Shelley’s ‘Mutability’ can, in this way, promote discussion of the Shelleys’ creative collaboration. What we know of the Shelleys’ history provides evidence for their repeated intellectual interactions, as Mary Shelley’s journal shows an almost daily occurrence of shared reading, copying, writing and discussion. The Shelleys’ shared notebooks (not just the ones containing Frankenstein) also indicate that they would use the same paper to draft, redraft, correct and fair-copy their works.
In her poem The Choice Mary Shelley talks of the “strange Star” that had been “ascendant at [her] birth”, in a reference to the comet that had then been seen in the skies. Whatever “influence on earth” that particular celestial phenomenon might have exercised, I doubt any novel was ever conceived under a stranger star than her own “hideous progeny”, Frankenstein. And how familiar the tale of this tale now is.