Interview: Mary Shelley, Mental Health and Travel Writing
I was recently interviewed by the Keats-Shelley Association of America (KSAA) about my research into Mary Shelley, mental health, travel writing and the gothic, which I presented last September at The Shelleys conference in London. This morning I awoke to the delightful news that the interview has now been published online. This research resonates with me on a very personal level (as you’ll see by reading the interview), so I was deeply touched and heartened to read the wonderful feedback it has already received from some Shelley scholars online.
In the interview I answer three excellent questions about my research posed by Ellen Nicholls, who did a wonderful job of chairing the panel on which I spoke at the conference. My responses explore ideas relating to Mary Shelley’s grief, depression and emotional trauma following the many tragic events in her life, not least the deaths of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and several of their infant children. I discuss what we can learn from the ways that Shelley handles this grief by turning to the dual outlets of travel and creative writing, and the ways that she thereby constructs a space within which to navigate, understand and attempt to heal her mental anguish. I also look at the competing and complimentary influences upon her writings: her blurred personal and professional agendas; the influences of the gothic, sentimental, and epistolary genres; and the perennial question of how close and how equal was the collaboration between Mary and Percy Shelley (my opinion on this is quite strong, in rebuff of a long tradition of overlooking the genius of Mary Shelley in favour of her husband).
You can read the full interview here: