Saturday, 23 November 2013

Book Review: Shelley Unbound by Scott D. de Hart

I was sent another book for review – I've been sent quite a few, happily filling
Another great-great archival photo.
Mom died and never told me
who they are.
my days reading. I pull no punches, however, I've failed to publish some reviews of some doozies! Too many want to chronicle their early childhood days, meaningless to many, in badly written tomes.

This book is a scholarly book. It is well-written and very clear in its premises. It is a heavy read for those looking for lighter fare. I found it an intriguing picture into the 1800s, as de Hart documents the day and age. It was a different era. A time when women were fighting to have a choice, rather than going to finishing schools, biding their time, until marriage, with embroidery, music, and other acceptable well-to-do female endeavours.

I'd never heard, or had forgotten, the controversy about this book's true authorship, despite a university course, or two, in English Literature back in the old days! (I graduated, the first time, in 1979.)

My mother went back to work when I was 5-years-old, in 1961. She was unusual. That said, the authorship of this book was a real coup for a woman in 1818.

Unfortunately, it is this author's premise that rather being a testament to the female author, he sets out a logical, clearly articulated essay, against this premise. I found it rather convincing.
"Scott D. de Hart’s fascinating investigation into Frankenstein and the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Percy Shelley results in an inconvenient truth regarding what we have long believed to be a great early example of the feminist canon."

Shelley Unbound; Uncovering Frankenstein's True Creator

by Scott D. de Hart

Frankenstein was first released in 1818 anonymously.
The credit for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s authorship first occurred in 1823 when a French edition was published. A year earlier, Mary’s revolutionary husband, the influential poet, dramatist, novelist, and essayist Percy Bysshe Shelley, died.
The same year Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (its full title) was first published, so was another work by Mary’s husband that shares use of the word Prometheus. The drama Prometheus Unbound was indeed credited to Percy Shelley.

The secret admission of many experts in English literature is that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley did not write a good portion of Frankenstein. In Shelley Unbound, Oxford scholar Scott D. de Hart examines the critical information about Percy Shelley’s scientific avocations, his disputes against church and state, and his connection to the illegal and infamous anti-Catholic organization, the Illuminati.

Scott D. de Hart was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from Oxford University with a PhD specializing in nineteenth-century English literature and legal controversies.

The photo scans are from my late mother's files. She was born in 1925, died in 2006. I find them rather intriguing, and a window into a time when women were only able to wear dresses. The year I went to high school, 1970, was the first year girls were permitted to wear pants to school. Can you imagine? And then, shortly, were were into mini-skirts!
My great-grandmother
My great-great-grandmother


Judy said...

And that first year, at least, girls could only wear pant suits, and not jeans!!! Ah, yes, I remember it, sort of...

Red said...

I'm sure that this was not the only female author who was picked apart with he objective to show that she had not written the book.
I'm one who thinks we still have a long way to go when it comes to women and their position in the world. They're still paid less than men. They are still ignored in being employed. You know where I'm going.

Kay said...

The women in your family tree were very attractive. I guess we've come a long way, but there's still more road to travel.

Good for you that you're able to read and write reviews. I just don't feel like I read enough varied material to write educated opinions.

Dr.S.D.dH said...

Enjoyed reading your review of my book Shelley Unbound. Thank you. I would also like to add it is nice to see an objective review by an intelligent reader. My real hope was to inspire new approaches to reading Frankenstein (1818) and to also counteract the idea that Mary is somehow a villain if not the author. I felt it very important to show that her role is important, beautiful, and shows intelligence and devotion to her (at times) difficult husband. Thanks again.