Webster-Garrett, Erin L.
Dr. Erin L. Webster-Garrett is Assistant Professor at Radford University in Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Denver. Her research interests revolve around the Shelleys, the rise of the modern romance, and empire. She has published articles in Cervantes, The Virginia Education Bulletin, and British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries.2007 0-7734-5564-7
This book focuses on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s literary career after 1822, and Dr. Webster-Garrett explores the neglected end of the “Mary Shelley Story” and questions inherited images of her as a bourgeois satellite of masculine genius and as a child prodigy whose genius faded after The Last Man
. The study contextualizes Shelley’s later career in terms of the rise of discourses of influence to describe sociopolitical, cultural, spiritual, and sexual relationships, and in terms of the rise of Romantic cultural anxieties regarding the ascendance of the popular novel and romance to positions of cultural influence. Shelley’s late novels each showcase a female principal who exerts a fully conscious and fully cognizant force on her textual world. In 1830, this deviation gained more significance as Shelley, for the first time, created a narrative in which a beautiful woman, Katherine Gordon, survives a masculine narrative in order to tell her own alternative tale. Her post-1830 novels trace the ultimate subversive act for a woman in the nineteenth-century: continued existence. As such, they demonstrate a dramatic reversal of Shelley’s approach to romantic prose fiction and suggest her need to separate herself from romance as a masculinist tradition that compulsively celebrates the death of a beautiful woman.