Genre and Gender Issues in Mary Shelley’s Narrative

  • Lilla Maria CrisafulliEmail author


This essay attempts to establish a relationship between literary genres and gender issues in Mary Shelley’s narrative, and intends to highlight the singular nature of Mary Shelley’s writing, which has proved able to continually mislead critical, and conceptual, analysis. Mary Shelley’s novels, and specifically those written between 1819 and 1826, appear to elude any definite attempts to categorise them. Rather, her novels continue to raise new questions and provide fresh challenges. Not by chance, Mary’s novels have been given the most varied definitions: although often branded as autobiographical narrations, they have been classified as historical novels, sentimental novels, historical novels of sensibility, apocalyptic novels, science-fiction novels, Gothic novels, novels of the sublime, utopian novels, dystopian novels, emotive writing, catastrophe writing, and writing of mourning. Such a wide range of labels underlines the novelty and singularity of her creative process, that works through subtractions and negations, silences and inward journeys, impasses but also sudden turning back or unexpected disclosures. This essay argues that the virtual impossibility of attaching genre labels to Mary Shelley’s novels is a direct consequence of the impact of gender viewpoints that emerges from the narrative structure of her novels.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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