Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “ Mathilda” as Want to Read:
 Mathilda
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Mathilda

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  847 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Mary Shelley's "Matilda" - suppressed for over a century - tells the story of a woman alienated from society by the incestuous passion of her father.
Kindle Edition
Published July 27th 2009 (first published 1819)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mathilda, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mathilda

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra Eggs
Mary Shelley is exceedingly famous as the author of Frankenstein, but this work isn't known at all and wasn't even published until 1959. With good reason.

The story is that Mathilda's father leaves England after the death of his wife and doesn't return until she is 16 whereupon he falls in love with her. He confesses it to her and then kills himself. (view spoiler). Mathilda is consumed with unhappiness an
...more
Jessica
Sep 27, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Read my full review here: http://virtualmargin.blogspot.com/2011/08/mathilda-34100.html

This may be one of the most Romantic books I've ever read. Romantic with a big R, not a little one. It's so packed full of feelings, melodramatic dialogues, and rainy moors, you'll be convinced Lord Byron is standing directly behind you.

In Mathilda, the title character narrates from her deathbed the tragic story of her life. Having lost her mother at birth, her father leaves her in the care of a cold aunt and
...more
Nicole
Update: giving it two stars.
I loved Frankenstein and part of me feels like I should have liked this as well, but honestly, I didn't.. The writing was alright and the story could have been too, but I was just so bored and the littlest things got me distracted whilest reading..


not sure how i feel about it yet..
Jori Richardson
Oh, Shelley. First a story about a lonely, half-dead monster, and now a tale of incestuous romance.

I was very intrigued about the novella "Mathilda." I had heard of before, as "that other Shelley book," but somehow the knowledge of what it was about managed to never reach me until a few days ago.

For those who also do not know the story, this is about a girl who is indeed named Mathilda. Her mother tragically died in childbirth, inspiring her passionate father to flee in grief to the ends of the
...more
MJ
Nov 29, 2012 MJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-club
Ah, poor Mary Shelley. I’m thinking she has this charmed life – daughter of two talented intellectuals, married to a gorgeous poet husband, herself a writer of what turns out to be one of the most famous books of all time, Frankenstein.

Then I find out that she wrote a little novella, Mathilda, that so shocked and outraged her father (also her publisher) with its subject of father-daughter incest that it was first published in 1959 – over 150 years after it was written. While some read it as auto
...more
Sierra
Jul 05, 2015 Sierra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incest, insanity, depression, and suicide. These dark things are what drew me to picking up the little novella of Mary Shelly's. "Frankenstein" was one of my favorite reads, and "The Last Man" was completely captivating, and I was thrilled to discover yet another of Shelly's works. However, "Mathilda" didn't thrill me the way "Frankenstein" or "The Last Man" did. Given, I started reading with the explicit desire to devour something that was uncomfortable and obscene. I wanted to be shocked and h ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 31, 2016 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, read2016
Well this book is pretty awful. The description hints at incest but unless I'm unskilled at reading between the lines of this era's literature, it is really more about a father's guilt for having confusing feelings about his daughter 16 years after the death of her mother. (Not that I wanted to read a novel with incest. I had my share of Flowers in the Attic when we read it on the bus in junior high.)

This entire novel is a series of emotional letters and hand-wringing declarations and I wanted t
...more
Gazala
Dec 14, 2016 Gazala rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novella by this legendary lady is about the very young Matilda ( book set between birth and 19/ 20 yrs of age) and her father. Having lost her mother , and father ( who chooses to walk away), She is raised by an aunt...Matilda has lead a very solitary and sad life until one day when her father decides to return. While they are very fond of each other, her short lived happiness turns to grief when her father professes his love for her.. having never known love before, Matilda's life is shatt ...more
Mel
This was just absoultely gorgeous. Everytime I read anything by Mary Shelley I just want to read everything she ever wrote, whether it was fiction or non-fiction. This was a very gothic tragic tale of a young girl doomed to death. The tale itself is interesting and tragic. The style of the writing is just beautiful. There are some of the most beautiful and moving passages about depression and suicide that I've ever read. Clearly Mary Shelley understood these things very well and while the plot o ...more
OngoingRain
~ 3'25 ~
Disturbing at times with beautiful descriptions.
The perspective of the protagonist about life before and after a tragedy made me realise how things can change in a moment and how twisted life can be.
Sometimes, once sadness has invaded your life, there's no turning back, as sad as it is and that makes people see relief in places where other only see grief.
Alessandra
Se vocês acham que o dr Frankenstein é dramático, precisam conhecer a Mathilda
Grace Harwood
Dec 07, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just finished re-reading Frankenstein and it reminded me how much I love the work of Mary Shelley, hence moving on to this small novella. The first part of this book is definitely stronger than the latter half which is a bit fragmented and not terribly polished in my opinion. The first part is just wonderful though - melodramatic, tragic and with all the obsession of the self which marks the typical Romantics of the period. The story commences on a blasted heath, where damaged soul Mathilda ...more
Chantal
3 stars, purely for the beauty of her words.
AmberBug *shelfnotes.com*
Shelf Notes Review

Dear Reader,

Did I tell you how much I ADORE Melville House for coming up with a Novella subscription service? Each month, I get two small but colorful volumes dropped at my door! Just the right size, and I get to read some classic lit mixed in with all the other books I happen to be reading. Genius! Want to be included in the fun? Check it out here! The Art of the Novella. So yes, now that I have that out the way... I can tell you ALL about how this first Novella didn't quite s
...more
Meredith
Written in 1819-20, and published posthumously, this novella recounts a father's attraction to his daughter, confession, and suicide. Wavering between a proto- psychological case study, on the one hand, and a high Romantic tale, on the other, Mathilda probes "the diseased yet incomprehensible state of [an incestuous father's:] mind" (165).

The first-person story is narrated by Mathilda (the daughter) who announces in the second paragraph, "I know that I am about to die." Writing this, she continu
...more
Sarah
Feb 20, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was Mary Shelley’s second work after Frankenstein, and it’s really interesting to see how similar it is in thematic preoccupations and how it draws on her own life: absent fathers, dead mothers, nature as parent, books as parent, very close father-daughter relationships, human society as false and corrupting, human love and kindness as essential, the city as oppressive compared to the freedom of the countryside, the pleasures and pains of solitude. (that last one in particular; Shelley writ ...more
Emily
Jun 15, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mathilda's father leaves her mother's birthing- and death-bed without laying eyes on her and she's raised by a maiden aunt until her father comes back when she's seventeen and they become bosom companions and best friendsies and go to London and then he inexplicably won't speak to her for several months. She confronts him by the lake next to the Yorkshire manor house with ivy growing up the walls and asks if she is the cause of his silent anger. He says, "No, but yes;" Mathilda runs up to her ro ...more
John Cadaver
"I adjure you, my father, has not an unnatural passion seized upon your heart?"

Shelley deals with the controversial issue of incest, in which the father of the eponymous character, having been an absent parent for sixteen years of his daughter's life, returns to establish a relationship with his child.

This relationship is tainted when he conflates his daughter with her deceased mother, developing unnatural passions steered toward Mathilda. His perverse projection throws her into an abysmal turm
...more
Stacey (wanderlustforwords67)
3.5
This little novella wasn't released until over 50 years after Mary Shelley's death. She wrote it after Frankenstein, and sent it off to her father to read, and he refused to give it back. The description says it's about incest, but there isn't any sexual acts, just the inappropriately passionate love of a father for his daughter. Realizing that he'll never escape from his unnatural love, he kills himself. The confusing piece is why then the daughter decides her life is over, and she runs away
...more
Laura
Mar 14, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey
A mournful Mathilda longs to escape her concerned relatives who have no idea why her father killed himself. She fakes her own suicide and escapes with a modest sum to live on a remote heath in the North of England, alone with her memories of joy and tragedy.

After two years, just when she longs for a friend, she meets the young poet Woodville. He tries to lift her out of despair - but will she confide in him?
Emily Mellow
Oct 25, 2008 Emily Mellow rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story
OK I didn't actually read it much, but enough to know it's pretty freakin' dry and slow. I liked Frankenstein enough to want to check out her other stuff, but please. This is not my style at all. Definitely disappointing as I thought of Shelley as a pretty good writer, even if Dr. Frankenstein was endlessly boring himself.
M.
Jun 13, 2014 M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sad to say I really disliked this. Dislike is too strong a word, maybe. I found it dull and had very little emotional reaction to it at all. The premise is horrible and intriguing (father falling in love with his daughter), but the book is basically one long first-person narration with very little momentum. Sorry Mary Shelley -- I still love you.
Luciana Vichino
Todo narrado em primeira pessoa, em uma carta a um amigo Mathilda narra a sua história, desde o casamento de seus pais até o final de sua curta vida. Em um certo momento tudo começa a ficar dramático demais e o foco da estória é o sofrimento de Mathilda. Muito bem narrado, mas exagerado demais para mim.
Uma boa opção para quem gosta de drama....muito drama.
Susan
Such a profound book, everybody can have their own interpretation. In my opinion this book leaves somethin to keep in your mind an in your heart for ever. I remember specially the final, maybe I will read it again. Exactly that's what you don't when you really like a book!
Trina
Jul 17, 2011 Trina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A nice, quick read for anyone who enjoys melodrama, heaths, nature worship, dramatic suicides, and the like.
Christina
Beautiful writing style.....horrible subject matter. I must stop pushing the "suprise me" button on my audiobook app!
Claire Scorzi
Sep 29, 2016 Claire Scorzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
29º dia do Mês da leitura mágica.
29ª leitura concluída.
;)
Shel
A tragic, Romantic story — a woman looks to Nature to find the will to endure alienation and loss.

Recommended for: Those very interested in works by Mary Shelley or by the Romantics or a selection with Melville House's The Art of the Novella series.

Notable: There's some rather lovely language here where Woodville entreats suicidal Mathilde to live in a long speech. His arguments include to do future good, to bring happiness to others and in hope of a better day:

"But if you can bestow happiness
...more
Sara
Dec 05, 2016 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly not Shelley's finest work, in fact I had never even heard of this novella existing before I was required to read it. It is a strange piece of fiction revolving around obsessive (and incestuous) love. It is dark and off-kilter. Yet, it is somehow engaging. I wanted to know more about Matilda and her life. The murmurs that this piece is somewhat autobiographical, with Shelley being Matilda, Godwin (Shelley's actual father) being Matilda's father, and Shelley's husband, Percy Byss ...more
Bethany
Feb 19, 2017 Bethany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017_adult
I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by this. Based on the description, I was expecting it to be disturbing, but it was instead just emotional.

I thought much of the writing was beautiful, and clearly conveyed the emotions of Mathilda. However, the writing of the occurrences leading to her Misery are somewhat lacking, again often suffering from telling rather than showing, but this is also what allows the novella to be pleasantly short. I would have loved to be more invested in Mathilda's relation
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lemoine Affair
  • The Duel
  • The Touchstone
  • The Dialogue of the Dogs
  • The Devil
  • The Lesson of the Master
  • The Duel
  • The Poor Clare
  • My Life
  • May Day
  • La Fanfarlo
  • The Pathseeker
  • The Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl
  • The Squabble
  • El duelo
  • The Distracted Preacher
  • The Beach of Falesá
  • The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
11139
Mary 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 ...more
More about Mary Shelley...

Share This Book



No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“My greatest pleasure was the enjoyment of a serene sky amidst these verdant woods: yet I loved all the changes of Nature; and rain, and storm, and the beautiful clouds of heaven brought their delights with them. When rocked by the waves of the lake my spirits rose in triumph as a horseman feels with pride the motions of his high fed steed.
But my pleasures arose from the contemplation of nature alone, I had no companion: my warm affections finding no return from any other human heart were forced to run waste on inanimate objects.”
0 likes
“Believe me, I will never desert life until this last hope is torn from my bosom, that in some way my labours may form a link of gold with which we ought all to strive to drag Happiness from where she sits enthroned above the clouds, now far beyond our reach, to inhabit the earth with us.” 0 likes
More quotes…