At the age of twenty, Mary Shelley secured her place in history by writing Frankenstein (1818), now acknowledged as one of the great literary classics. The daughter of radical philosopher William Godwin and pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley lived an unconventional life dogged by tragedy. At sixteen she scandalised England by eloping with her married lover, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, but was widowed after only a few years of marriage. She went on to survive her husband by nearly thirty years and to support herself and her son as a writer. Here the great twentieth-century novelist Muriel Spark paints a portrait of a gothic icon. First published in 1951, this remarkable biography, reissued with previously unpublished material, recounts Mary Shelley's dramatic life, from her youth and turbulent marriage to her career as writer and editor. The young Spark, who would write The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ten years later, discovered her vocation as a novelist in this study.