Mathilda

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MATHILDA

By MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY

Edited by ELIZABETH NITCHIE

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS CHAPEL HILL

Mathilda _is being published in paper as Extra Series #3 of_ Studies in Philology.

PREFACE

This volume prints for the first time the full text of Mary Shelley's novelette _Mathilda_ together with the opening pages of its rough draft, _The Fields of Fancy_. They are transcribed from the microfilm of the notebooks belonging to Lord Abinger which is in the library of Duke University.

The text follows Mary Shelley's manuscript exactly except for the omission of mere corrections by the author, most of which are negligible; those that are significant are included and explained in the notes. Footnotes indicated by an asterisk are Mrs. Shelley's own notes. She was in general a fairly good speller, but certain words, especially those in which there was a question of doubling or not doubling a letter, gave her trouble: untill (though occasionally she deleted the final _l_ or wrote the word correctly), agreable, occured, confering, buble, meaness, receeded, as well as hopless, lonly, seperate, extactic, sacrifise, desart, and words ending in -ance or -ence. These and other mispellings (even those of proper names) are reproduced without change or comment. The use of _sic_ and of square brackets is reserved to indicate evident slips of the pen, obviously incorrect, unclear, or incomplete phrasing and punctuation, and my conjectures in emending them.

I am very grateful to the library of Duke University and to its librarian, Dr. Benjamin E. Powell, not only for permission to transcribe and publish this work by Mary Shelley but also for the many courtesies shown to me when they welcomed me as a visiting scholar in 1956. To Lord Abinger also my thanks are due for adding his approval of my undertaking, and to the Curators of the Bodleian Library for permiting me to use and to quote from the papers in the reserved Shelley Collection. Other libraries and individuals helped me while I was editing _Mathilda_: the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, whose Literature and Reference Departments went to endless trouble for me; the Julia Rogers Library of Goucher College and its staff; the library of the University of Pennsylvania; Miss R. Glynn Grylls (Lady Mander); Professor Lewis Patton of Duke University; Professor Frederick L. Jones of the University of Pennsylvania; and many other persons who did me favors that seemed to them small but that to me were very great.

I owe much also to previous books by and about the Shelleys. Those to which I have referred more than once in the introduction and notes are here given with the abbreviated form which I have used:

Frederick L. Jones, ed. _The Letters of Mary W. Shelley_, 2 vols. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1944 (_Letters_)

---- _Mary Shelley's Journal_. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1947 (_Journal_)

Roger Ingpen and W.E. Peck, eds. _The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley_, Julian Edition, 10 vols. London, 1926-1930 (Julian _Works_)

Newman Ivey White. _Shelley_, 2 vols. New York: Knopf, 1940 (White, _Shelley_)

Elizabeth Nitchie. _Mary Shelley, Author of "Frankenstein."_ New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953 (Nitchie, _Mary Shelley_)

ELIZABETH NITCHIE

May, 1959

CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE iii

INTRODUCTION vii

MATHILDA 1

NOTES TO MATHILDA 81

THE FIELDS OF FANCY 90

NOTES TO THE FIELDS OF FANCY 103

INTRODUCTION

Of all the novels and stories which Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley left in manuscript,[i] only one novelette, _Mathilda_, is complete. It exists in both rough draft and final copy. In this story, as in all Mary Shelley's writing, there is much that is autobiographical: it would be hard to find a more self-revealing work. For an understanding of Mary's character, especially as she saw herself, and of her attitude toward Shelley and toward Godwin in 1819, this tale is an important document. Although the main narrative, that of the father's incestuous love for his daughter, his suicide, and Mathilda's consequent withdrawal from society to a lonely heath, is not in any real sense autobiographical, many elements in it are drawn from reality. The three main characters are clearly Mary herself, Godwin, and Shelley, and their relations can easily be reassorted to correspond with actuality.

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