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Rethinking the Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mercer, Anna (2017) Rethinking the Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. PhD thesis, University of York.

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PhD postVIVA Anna Mercer. Submitted Aug 2017.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
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Abstract

This thesis offers a reassessment of the literary relationship and instances of creative collaboration between Percy Bysshe Shelley (PBS) and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (MWS). Rather than focusing on biography, I study the textual connections between the Shelleys’ works - though I have drawn on biographical information to put their collaboration into a historical context. I establish that their written works are profoundly influenced by and constructed through their intellectual exchange. Spoken discussions can never be recovered, but the evidence provided in the Shelleys’ writings, manuscripts, and non-fiction allows informed inferences to be made about how their compositions are interrelated. The study begins with the Shelleys’ meeting and their subsequent elopement in 1814, and continues on to PBS’s death in 1822, and beyond. It includes several case studies examined in detail. I give due attention to the work of existing scholars that have recognised the Shelleys’ collaboration, but emphasise that a comprehensive study of the Shelleys’ texts in light of their status as a literary couple has been lacking. More recent studies in Romanticism have shown a marked interest in the significance of collective creativity: PBS and MWS have the potential to provide one of the most intriguing examples of this paradigm, and critics have called for a ‘major study of this collaboration’ (Charles E. Robinson). I demonstrate MWS’s involvement in the production of PBS’s writings, and I identify shared working spaces. My analysis reveals the reciprocity of a relationship that in popular culture - including much of the discourse surrounding the Frankenstein manuscript - is often misrepresented as that of a patriarchal husband exerting intellectual dominance over his wife.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Dr Anna Mercer
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2017 07:46
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2017 07:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18022

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