Life and literature were inseparable in the daily lives of Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and Mary Shelley. In England's First Family of Writers, Julie A. Carlson demonstrates how and why the works of these individuals can best be understood within the context of the family unit in which they were created.
The first to consider their writing collectively, Carlson finds in the Wollstonecraft—Godwin—Shelley dynasty a family of writers whose works are in intimate dialogue with each other. For them, literature made love and produced children, as well as mourned, memorialized, and reanimated the dead.
Construing the ways in which this family's works minimize the differences between books and persons, writing and living, Carlson offers a nonsentimental account of the extent to which books can live and inform life and death. Carlson also examines the unorthodox clan's status as England's first family of writers. She explores how, over time, their reception has evinced ongoing public resistance to those who critique family values. (From Johns Hopkins University Press)