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Written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Read by Sarah Douglas
The second novel from Mary Shelley, written in 1819/20 but not published in full until 1959. Narrating from her deathbed, Mathilda tells the story of her unnamed father’s confession of incestuous love for her, followed by his suicide by drowning; her relationship with a gifted young poet called Woodville fails to reverse Matilda’s emotional withdrawal or prevent her lonely death.
Dur: 3hrs 45mins STEREO
Available in 3 ‘flavours’ offering differing quality vs file size (all the same price!):
The second novel from Mary Shelley, written in 1819/20 but not published in full until 1959. The story deals with common Romantic themes, but also incest and suicide.
Narrating from her deathbed, Mathilda tells the story of her unnamed father’s confession of incestuous love for her, followed by his suicide by drowning; her relationship with a gifted young poet called Woodville fails to reverse Matilda’s emotional withdrawal or prevent her lonely death. The act of writing this short novel distracted Mary Shelley from her grief after the deaths of her one-year-old daughter Clara at Venice in September 1818 and her three-year-old son William in June 1819 in Rome. These losses plunged Mary Shelley into a depression that distanced her emotionally and sexually from Percy Shelley and left her, as he put it, “on the hearth of pale despair”.
The story may be seen as a metaphor for what happens when a woman, ignorant of all consequences, follows her own heart while dependent on her male benefactor.
Mary Shelley sent the finished Mathilda to her father in England, to submit for publication. However, though Godwin admired aspects of the novel, he found the incest theme “disgusting and detestable” and failed to return the manuscript despite his daughter’s repeated requests. In the light of Percy Shelley’s later death by drowning, Mary Shelley came to regard the novel as ominous; she wrote of herself and Jane Williams “driving (like Mathilda) towards the sea to learn if we were to be for ever doomed to misery”. The novel was published for the first time in 1959, edited by Elizabeth Nitchie from dispersed papers. It has become possibly Mary Shelley’s best-known work after Frankenstein.
About The Narrator
Read by SARAH DOUGLAS. Renowned film and television actress Sarah Douglas is perhaps best known for playing the Kryptonian supervillain Ursa in Superman and Superman II. Her other prominent roles include that of the evil Queen Taramis in the film Conan the Destroyer, and Pamela Lynch in the 1980s prime-time drama series Falcon Crest.
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Purple Planet Music
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