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Reading Comprehension - Biography of Mary Shelley


Develop your reading skills. Read the following biography of Mary Shelley. Then, answer the comprehension questions.


MaryShelley

Mary Shelley was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel write. She was born on August thirtieth, 1797, and is best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

After their mother's death, Mary and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were reared by their father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe. When they returned to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.

In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The family left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumor that was to kill her at the age of 53 on February first, 1851.

Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish her husband's works and for her novel Frankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recently scholars have shown increasing interest in her other literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837).

Source: Wikipedia

Comprehension

  1. Percy Bysshe Shelley was single when he fell in love with Mary Shelley.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. When they got married, they had three children, only one of them survived.
    a. True
    b. False
  3. Her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, died of an illness caused by a brain tumor.
    a. True
    b. False
  4. Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein in Switzerland.
    a. True
    b. False

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