Mary/Maria/Matilda (Penguin Classics)
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This volume for the first time brings together three extraordinary works of fiction by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), generally recognized as the mother of the feminist movement, and her daughter, Mary Shelley (1797-1851), author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft's first novel, Mary (1788), an exploration of an alienated intellectual woman and her struggle against the constraints of a claustrophobic feminine world, was followed by her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The posthumously published Maria moves from Wollstonecraft's own experiences to examine the miseries of women of all classes. Matilda (1819), Shelley's second novel, remained unpublished during her lifetime (1797-1851). Its theme of a father's incestuous desire for his daughter was considered provocative and scandalous. Her father, William Godwin, refused to publish it and it remained suppressed for over a century. Janet Todd's introduction links the novels of mother and daughter by their double exploration of self-representation, sexuality, and personal conflict.