This digital edition presents six Gothic tales written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, all of which were published in the literary annual The Keepsake in the 1820s and 1830s. One goal of this digital edition is to make these tales available to readers in a form that mimics–as closely as the digital platform will allow–how the tales would have appeared to their first readers. To this end, the edition includes scanned digital facsimiles of each tale, scans of the frontmatter for each volume, and images of what each volume looks like.
Another goal of this edition is to make these tales, most of which are not widely read today, accessible to a broad readership of scholars, students, fans of the Gothic, and fans of Mary Shelley. It collects six tales that engage with the themes and motifs of Gothic literature and identifies shared motifs and place references, as well as the characters and times named in each tale. It also situates the tales in their original print context by including information about The Keepsake and the other works of literature, poetry, nonfiction, and art that surrounded the tales.
Metadata is included for each tale, its illustration, and each volume of The Keepsake included. This metadata provides a way for readers to explore the tales in context, and is included with the hope of inspiring further research.
I hope that reading these tales will inspire more people to read Shelley's other works. Shelley is best known for writing Frankenstein, of course, but she was a prolific and accomplished author. Her works include seven novels, two travelogues, 23 short stories, and three works of children's literature, as well as numerous essays, biographies, poems, reviews, translations, and unpublished fragments. Her work editing her husband Percy Shelley's writing was pivotal in establishing him as a major Romantic writer, a designation equally deserved by Mary Shelley. A wealth of information about Mary Shelley's life and writings is available, but the Mary Shelley page on Wikipedia is a good starting point.
This project was made possible through the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and through an Open Knowledge Practicum from the University of Victoria's Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL). Thank you to these organizations and to the University of Victoria Library's Special Collections librarians for their help with accessing and digitizing these materials. In addition, I would like to thank Quinn Dombrowski and Erica Cavanaugh for introducing me to Drupal, and my doctoral supervisor, Robert Miles. Finally, I want to thank my family, without whose support none of my work would be possible.