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Old 06-14-2012, 06:14 AM   #1
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Shelley, Mary: Falkner. V1. 14 Jun 2012

Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Falkner (1837) is the last novel published by the Romantic writer Mary Shelley.
Like Shelley's novel Lodore (1835), Falkner charts a young woman's education under a tyrannical father figure. As a six-year-old orphan, Elizabeth Raby prevents Rupert Falkner from committing suicide; Falkner then adopts her and brings her up to be a model of virtue. However, she falls in love with Gerald Neville, whose mother Falkner had unintentionally driven to her death years before. When Falkner is finally acquitted of murdering Neville's mother, Elizabeth's female values subdue the destructive impulses of the two men she loves, who are reconciled and unite with Elizabeth in domestic harmony. Falkner is the only one of Mary Shelley's novels in which the heroine's agenda triumphs. In critic Kate Ferguson Ellis's view, the novel’s resolution proposes that when female values triumph over violent and destructive masculinity, men will be freed to express the "compassion, sympathy, and generosity" of their better natures.
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