Bodleian MS. Abinger d.33

In January of 1818, at the age of 19, Mary Shelley published Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Her first published novel, it would prove to be one of the most iconic ever written, a classic of the Romantic period and Gothic form. Given the immediate and enduring popularity of her first novel, one might expect her subsequent completed novel—Mathilda, composed in the latter half of 1819—to be welcomed enthusiastically by readers. After all, the two texts share many characteristics besides authorship and contemporaneity: both the Monster and Mathilda have been abandoned at birth and are (to put it mildly) overly concerned with their fathers, metaphorical and literal; both novels contribute to the Gothic form through themes of incest, insanity, suicidality, monstrosity, and isolation; and both tales are epistolary. However, the reception of Mathilda was abortive from the first. It was not published until 1959, 140 years after Shelley wrote it.

Read more in Michelle Faubert's introduction.