Maurice, or the Fisher's Cot by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
A Long-Lost Tale

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In the fall of 1997, in a palazzo in the Tuscan hills north of Florence, a small booklet sewn into paper covers turned up in a long-unopened crate of old letters and other documents. It bore the title "Maurice" and an inscription: "For Laurette from her friend
Mrs Shelley." Investigation proved it to be a story written by Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, a story presumed by scholars to have been irretrievably lost soon after its composition in 1820. It is here published for the
first time.
Written two years after her great gothic novel, Maurice dates from a period when Mary Shelley, still only twenty-two, was deeply sunk in depression. She had eloped with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at sixteen, borne him four children and seen three of them die. Thus, though Maurice is basically a charming moral tale written for a child--the daughter of a close friend--it betrays a vein of melancholy, beginning with a funeral and concerning a boy who has lost his parents. Even the happy ending has a sad twist.
Claire Tomalin--the distinguished biographer of, among others, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft--was personally involved in the authentication
of the rediscovered manuscript. She here contributes a comprehensive and fascinating
introduction that explores the literary and
psychological importance of the story and investigates the hitherto obscure histories of the two extraordinary families whose lives it touched.

About Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

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Published October 27, 1998 by Alfred A. Knopf. 173 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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(Shelley's own wife, Harriet, killed herself after he abandoned her, and the young couple's first years abroad were spent in considerable hardship.) In Italy, the Shelleys became friendly with the Tighes, a well-to-do Irish family, and Mary wrote Maurice as a present for the Tighes' children.

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Publishers Weekly

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The discovery last year of a long-lost, hitherto unpublished story by Mary Shelley--author of Frankenstein, feminist and wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley--raises expectations. A morality tale for chi

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Publishers Weekly

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In her 60-page introduction, Tomalin, biographer of Jane Austen and Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, offers a fascinating piece of detective work (she went to Italy to meet Tighe's descendants, who had unearthed the manuscript) and shows how this tale of loss and vulnerability mirrors a tan...

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