Cover image for Religion Around Mary Shelley By Jennifer L. Airey

Religion Around Mary Shelley

Jennifer L. Airey

BUY

$79.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08207-3

$24.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08382-7

240 pages
5.5" × 8.5"
2019

Religion Around

Religion Around Mary Shelley

Jennifer L. Airey

“Airey makes unexpected connections between Mary Shelley and religious history, lending nuance to today’s arguments for Shelley's unique contributions to Romanticism and contemporary thought. In this fascinating, accessible book, readers will find their expectations challenged, with current debates expanded and sometimes redirected.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Mary Shelley lived and wrote during an age of religious instability, one that witnessed the spread of atheism, millenarianism, Methodism, Unitarianism, and Evangelicalism, among other belief systems. In this book, Jennifer L. Airey foregrounds Shelley as an important religious thinker of the Romantic period, analyzing her creative engagement with the religious controversies around her and uncovering a belief system that was both influenced by and profoundly different from those of her male Romantic counterparts.

Previous assessments of religion in Shelley’s work have been limited in scope and, as Airey asserts, have tended to privilege the novels she wrote when she was married to the prominent atheist Percy Shelley and shortly after his death. Such readings imply that Shelley and her works are most interesting for what they can tell us about her husband and second-generation (and predominantly male) Romanticism. Airey’s analysis corrects this imbalance by giving equal weight to Shelley’s later work, which draws on Evangelical discourses elevating the mother as the theological and moral center of the household.

Nuanced and accessible, Religion Around Mary Shelley makes visible the valuable insight that Shelley’s works offer into the complexity of religious views prominent in her cultural moment. It will appeal to specialists and nonacademics interested in the Godwin-Wollstonecraft-Shelley circle.

“Airey makes unexpected connections between Mary Shelley and religious history, lending nuance to today’s arguments for Shelley's unique contributions to Romanticism and contemporary thought. In this fascinating, accessible book, readers will find their expectations challenged, with current debates expanded and sometimes redirected.”
Religion Around Mary Shelley provides an excellent overview of the strands of religious discourse in England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and their influence on Mary Shelley’s works. Tracing Shelley’s perspective on religion from doubt bordering on atheism (like her husband and father) to an understanding of spirituality centered on domesticity and family connections, this book represents a significant contribution to scholarship on Shelley as well as scholarship on gender and Romanticism in general.”
“With remarkable clarity, energy, and scope, Airey performs a real service for students and scholars of Mary Shelley. Spanning the full range of her career, Religion Around Mary Shelley takes the reader beyond the biography and into the language and inner life of a writer profoundly engaged with skepticism and faith in a rapidly changing world unsettled by the disturbing possibility that God was absent.”
“Jennifer L. Airey writes eloquently about Shelley’s faith and her complex relationship with the various discourses around religion current in the early nineteenth century. Historically grounded and deeply informed, Religion Around Mary Shelley presents a welcome emphasis on many of Shelley’s lesser-studied works and later works, giving us a fuller picture of a writer for whom the creative process of thought and composition was deeply inflected by her rational imagination.” Romantic Visualities: Landscape, Gender, and Romanticism

Jennifer L. Airey is Associate Professor of English at the University of Tulsa.

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Religion Around Romanticism

2. Religion Around Mary Shelley

3. Doubt

4. Despair

5. Domesticity

Conclusion: On Ghosts

Notes

Works Cited

Index