Mary Shelley Presents: The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, how about flipping open the first issue of Mary Shelly Presents?
Mary Shelley Presents is a series from Kymera Press. In it, Mary Shelley and her old pal Frankenstein’s Monster introduce stories from mostly-forgotten women writers of a long-gone era. Imagine a cross between the Crypt Keeper and Oprah touting her book club! No, you won’t win a car reading Mary Shelley Presents, but you will be introduced to women writers’ stories which you may not have been exposed to before.
Here is how Mary introduces the collection on the first page:
“…I dreamed of the creature, pieced together from corpses, revived … and unloved. His tragedy has granted me immortality. Other women writers of my time have not been as lucky. Famous once, their ghostly stories now gather dust.”
The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell is adapted by the New York Times best-selling author, Nancy Holder, who you probably recognize from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels. The Old Nurse’s Story has a fascinating backstory. It came into existence when Charles Dickens requested that Elizabeth Gaskell write a tale for the Christmas issue of Household Words Magazine in 1852.
Set at Christmas in the Victorian era, the tale follows an orphan girl who is forced to live in an old mansion with her closest living family after the tragic deaths of her parents. A mystery haunts the innocent girl as specters from the past return for revenge.
In addition to being written by Nancy Holder, the artist for the first issue of Mary Shelley Presents is Amelia Woo; letterer, Saida Temofonte; colorist, Sandra Molina; color separations by Alejandro Garcia; editor, D. Lynn Smith; art director, Kate Kane; graphic design by Paul Doughtee; cover by Amelia Woo, and it is published by Kymera Press.
Fans of horror, comics and the supernatural will devour this read. Mary Shelley Presents: The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell is highly recommended, especially as a cozy fall or winter read. The gothic tone and style are gripping and a treat to enjoy as the nights grow colder, darker and longer.
Mary Shelley Fast Facts:
- Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was an early feminist and is known for writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
- Mary Wollstonecraft died ten days after Mary was born due to complications from the birth.
- Mary Shelley did not add her name to her book Frankenstein until five years after it was first published in 1818. This was done to obscure the fact it was written by a woman and avoid potential sexism from readers who might dismiss a female author.
- Mary Shelley’s future writings were published under the heading “by the author of Frankenstein”, but none of them were as popular as the first book during her lifetime.
- The full name of the book is: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
- Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein while in a on holiday at a castle in Switzerland with Jane Clairmont who was her stepsister, writer John Polidori, poet Lord Byron, and her lover Percy Shelley. On a stormy night, Byron suggested they write spooky stories to see who could pen the scariest, and thus Mary wrote the first draft of Frankenstein.
- Mary was 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein, and 20 when it was published.
- Mary and Percy Shelley married after his first wife, Harriet, committed suicide. Mary was pregnant at the time, and there is a rumor that Mary’s father had Harriet murdered to save his daughter’s reputation.
- Mary and Percy Shelley’s first child, a daughter, died shortly after birth.
- Percy Shelley died in a drowning in 1822 when Mary was just 24 years old.
- Mary and Percy Shelly had four children, but only one child, a son, survived to adulthood.
- Mary is rumored to have kept Percy Shelley’s heart, which had been calcified, in her writing desk. The heart was allegedly wrapped in poems written by Percy.