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Daughter Of Earth And Water: A Biography Of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  590 ratings  ·  71 reviews
This remarkable biography follows the passionate relationship between Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Percy was a celebrated poet, while Mary Shelley terrified the world with her novel Frankenstein — and their marriage was marked by both tragedy and brilliance.
Kindle Edition
Published by Endeavour Press (first published January 1st 1973)
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Clif Hostetler
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly (1797–1851) is best known today as the author of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus . Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

At age seventeen Mary eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley who was already married to another woman. Mary was pregnant with Percy's child when they returned from their elopement (child did not survive a premature birth). This was considered scandalous by
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, well-written and absorbing biography of Mary Shelley, it’s equally about her famous husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and the unconventional lives they led -- for the times they lived in. The personal and financial challenges they faced or, quite frankly, brought upon themselves were incredible and it’s a wonder they survived despite the constant creditors at their door. Brilliant in her own right, Mary’s intellectual capacity was equal to or superior than her husband’s and she was a ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Percy Shelley was of almost no interest to me and my opinion of him did not improve much. I almost did not read Mary's biography but so very glad I did.

Mary was amazing - not just for her time but in general. I was blown away by her genius. She may be one of my top 10 women role models of all time from biographies I have read.

Noel Bertram did a wonderful job of bringing Mary's voice through (it helped she was such a prolific writer) and to methodically debunk myths about
Tam May
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll admit that I went into reading this book with a bit of a lukewarm attitude. Although I'm always interested in 19th century women writers, I don't know as much about the writers in the earlier part of the century as I do in the mid or later part. All I really knew about Mary Shelley was that she wrote "Frankenstein" (a book I like but wouldn't put on my top 10 list of favorite books) and that her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft.

However, this biography was a pleasant surprise. Mary Shelley
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
I downloaded a copy of this biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Noel Gerson when I saw it advertised in an Endeavour Press e-mail newsletter last year. The book was first published in the 1970s and has now been re-released as an ebook. I thought it made an interesting companion to Glorious Apollo, the novel about Byron I read recently, as there are crossovers where Byron and the Shelley's lives intertwined. It is also perfect timing for me to read this book now as the Endeavour Press ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Melanie, Catherine, Betsy
Shelves: 2018
Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Gerson Noel Bertram is a must read! Since our book club is rereading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley the biography seemed a natural companion. I'm glad I got to know Mary Shelley beyond her monster.

I knew very little about Mary beyond her relationship with Shelley and associations with his friend Lord Byron. I remembered hearing that her monster story grew out of a challenge to write a scary story. While the men lost
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a thoroughly enjoyable biography of Mary Shelley and is just what a good biography should be - well-written, accessible, meticulously researched, not too overloaded with extraneous detail and always entertaining. Highly recommended
Mary Shelley is one of England’s beloved writers, whose famous work of Frankenstein has lived in popular culture since the day it was published and has never been out of print. However, aside that she wrote Frankenstein, and she married Percy Bysshe Shelley, I really did not know anything about her personal life. This fascinating biography not only recounts her fascinating life and her accomplishments, but it is she who helped make Percy Bysshe Shelley from a minor poet into a classic figure ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous biography of Mary Shelley. I read everything I can about her fiction and non fiction.. This is not your bland and boring biography . It is a page turning engrossing book. I was surprised to learn that Mary And Percy disapproved of Byron's behavior. i always thought it made no difference . this is a must read for Shelley fans
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I grabbed this slightly older book during my Kindle Unlimited trial. It was pleasant to read and predates the idea that Mary and Shelley were dishonest fakers in everything they wrote and everything they did. I confess I like this interpretation much better. An exceptional woman no matter how you look at her.
Wendie Schneider
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting read

I have always lived Shelley's poetry and wondered about his life with Mary. This book certainly demonstrates real love and devotion, not often seen among the celebrated.
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Definitely a must read.
Kenya Starflight
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having read Frankenstein earlier this year -- and while not my favorite classic, I can definitely appreciate its status as one of the first science-fiction books to win popular acclaim -- I figured I should learn a little more about the woman behind the infamous novel. As it turns out, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was a passionate woman whose own story was just as dramatic as her famous novel. And while "Daughter of Earth and Water" can drag a little at points, it's a well-researched and ...more
Ed Mestre
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ed by: Edward
Mixed feelings about this biography. It’s more my own predisposition than the well researched book itself. My main source of info on Mary Shelley was Ken Russell’s ’70s film “Gothic”, where he gives the night Percy Shelley, Mary, Lord Byron, & Mary’s stepsister gathered & Mary came up with the seed of her first novel, “Frankenstein”. The film presented a decadent proto-hippie, free love & drugs point of view. Well, the book presents a much more staid view of that night & the ...more
Vikki Ascuena
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Adequate Overview

Considering all the impact of Mary Wollstone Shelley, this treatment lacks depth. The author largely fails to assess the critical importance of "Frankenstein." Since this is primarily the work for which she is remembered in her own right, readers might expect some discussion of the theme of parent/child relationships portrayed in the novel and pertinent to Shelley's life experiences. Similarly, the relationship of nature and the sublime would provide insight into Shelley's
Patricia Ibarra
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Percy Bysshe Syelley was a famous poet in the early 19th century, but this book focuses mainly on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who went against all the conventions of the British society and decided to live with the poet, still married at that time. This is the story of profound love and trust they felt for each other, but life not devoid of tragedy and hardship. Mary was a remarkable and strong woman, cultured and independent, something almost never seen in those times. She is the author of ...more
Margaret Bramlett
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a remarkable woman. Although I hated my graduate course in Romantic Poetry, I am thinking I may need to reread the poems of Shelley with a more mature viewpoint. I think I may need to read Frankenstein. A very enjoyable read.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting read, and, as it turns out, well-researched. My quibble is that there were no footnotes and on kindle I had no idea that the bibliography is as extensive as it is. The lack of footnotes could just be a function of the kindle version, but I doubt it.
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Throughly enjoyed it

I learned a lot about Mary Shelly and her poet husband. It piqued my interest to read some of her writing. Especially now that I understand the background of the person who wrote it.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An informative read

This helped me understand the mind of this beautiful pioneer in literature. She was truly the daughter of a philosopher and feminist.
L Smith
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Bio

The book conveyed the greatness of Mary's and Percy's intellect. But also made them real people, with experiences not to different from our own.
Lynn Wyvill
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know much about Mary or her husband so I found this fascinating. They went through so much and yet remained together and devoted to each other. A very enjoyable read.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had no idea. What an amazing, prolific, talented, mature, intelligent, daring, forethinking, feminist.
Kimberly Young
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
The writer of this biography seemed to be more interested in Mary's husband than he was in her, at least in my opinion.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
She was so much more than her Frankenstein. Her relationship with so many literary characters of her day made her one of them.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting biography of Mary Shelley.
Joyce K. Wire
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I enjoyed reading about the life of Mary Shelley. I knew very little about her before reading this book. I recommend this.
Dan A. Foster
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is not my typical read, but I found this book to be enlightening as to the times, lifestyles, and personal experiences of the Shelley’s.
Mary L.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and well written biography. It certainly shows the love one woman could have for one man and how she manifested it to him and to the world.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Mary Shelley, and was glad to learn more about her. The writing here seems a little dated , and the last decades of her life seem rushed through.
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Noel Bertram Gerson (1913-1988) was an American author who wrote 325 books, including several best sellers, among them two screenplay novelizations penned under the pseudonym Samuel Edwards, The Naked Maja, and 55 Days at Peking.

Aside from "Samuel Edwards", which would seem to have been his dedicated by-line for tie-in work, Gerson used the following nine pseudonyms in addition to his own name:
“Marriage was a noble institution, she declared, provided the husband did not take unfair advantage of his superior legal position and the wife did not succumb to the pressures of society and become a nonentity.” 0 likes
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