August 30th 1797 – February 1st 1851
by Reta Robinson
WHY WE SHOULD CARE
This literary marvel and brain behind the Gothic novel Frankenstein was blessed with super genes. The only child of radical political philosopher William Godwin and infamous feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary embraced her parents’ idees nouveau and ran off with one of her father’s followers, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Legend has it that she wooed the already-married Percy at her mother’s grave, the 17th century equivalent of having sex in your parents’ bed (tsk, tsk).
THREE TRAITS WE ADMIRE
Kinky, ballsy and adventurous—not only did she have a penchance for sexual freedom, she defied her parents and the norms of the day to shack up with her married man and travel to such far-away places as France, Switzerland and Italy (this was pre-Ryanair and Easyjet, remember) all while burdened with the dreaded womanly condition (read: knocked up).
STYLE BEST DESCRIBED AS
Avant-garde intellectual nerd with a side of free love— think hot girl with glasses in a lenscrafters ad holding a pencil to her lips with a “come hither” look.
WHAT HIGH SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS DIDN’T SAY
Our little home wrecker not only stole her man Percy away from his prego wife Harriet, she married him after Harriet’s body was found in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London after an apparent suicide.
HOW SHE’S CELEBRATED
Every Halloween when you don your “Frankenstein” costume (which you are dressing up as the monster of course and not Dr. Frankenstein) a bit of Mary Shelley lives.
FOR HER BIOPIC WE’D CAST
Saucy vixen Scarlett Johansson or sexy Harvard grad Natalie Portman