This 1959 volume prints for the first time the full text of Mary Shelley's novelette Mathilda together with the opening pages of its rough draft, The Fields of Fancy. They are transcribed from the microfilm of the notebooks belonging to Lord Abinger which is in the library of Duke University.
ng passions and affections which she often hid from the world under a placid appearance. Like Mathilda's, Mary's mother had died a few days after giving her birth. Like Mathilda she spent part of her girlhood in Scotland. Like Mathilda she met and loved a poet of "exceeding beauty," and--also like Mathilda--in that sad year she had treated him ill, having become "captious and unreasonable" in her sorrow. Mathilda's loneliness, grief, and remorse can be paralleled in Mary's later journal and in "The Choice." This story was the outlet for her emotions in 1819.
Woodville, the poet, is virtually perfect, "glorious from his youth," like "an angel with winged feet"--all beauty, all goodness, all gentleness. He is also successful as a poet, his poem written at the age of twenty-three having been universally acclaimed. Making allowance for Mary's exaggeration and wishful thinking, we easily recognize Shelley: Woodville has his poetic ideals, the charm of his conversation, his high moral qualities, his sense of
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