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Mary Shelley's verse is rather sparse; she herself readily admitted that poetry was not her most natural vein of expression. She was much more at ease writing historical and political essays, literary reviews, and even Gothic fiction.
After her husband's drowning in 1822 (a sailing accident), both financial duress and the bereavement and shock over her husband's death spurred her to complete Vaperza, a three-volume novel. In a letter written to Maria Gisborne (dated June 11, 1835) she confides:
"I can never write verses, "except under the influence of a strong sentiment & seldom even then."
In the wake of this work's relative success, her free-verse interpretation of extracts from Ovid, Prosperine and Midas, were also published, although written half-heartedly. Other works Shelley had started were not completed due to multiple miscarriages and the death of an infant daughter. One child, a son, did indeed survive.
Mary Shelley's statement of personal grief is her 'Journal of Sorrow,' published two years after Shelley's accident. In it, the poems "The Choice', "On Reading Wordsworth's Lines on Peel Castle" and an excerpt of "To Jane" appear at the end.
See the following references for a more detailed biographical sketch of Mary Shelley and a complete bibliography of her works.
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