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Cover for Proserpine
Isbn: 978-87-2659-590-1
Publisher: Saga Egmont
Novels Fantasy & Sci-Fi Historic facsimile
Accessible since: May 2022



The master of mythological retellings strikes again.

‘Proserpine’ is a mythological verse drama written by Mary Shelley and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, who wrote the lyrical poems. Originally written for children, it is widely considered a partner piece to the Shelleys' play ‘Midas’.

The story is based on Ovid's tale of the abduction of Proserpine by Pluto, which itself was based on the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone. Mary’s version is a feminist retelling and reflects the gender debates of the 19th century.

First published in the London periodical The Winter's Wreath in 1832, Proserpine is an important piece of female literary fiction and fans of Madeline Miller's 'Circe', Jennifer Saint's 'Ariadne' will enjoy this master at work.

Mary Shelley (1797–1851) earned her place in the pantheon of British novelists with her ground-breaking Gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’ (1818). Considered one of the first true works of science-fiction, the book became an instant bestseller. But she was far from a one-hit-wonder, producing a host of other novels, including 'Valperga', 'Perkin Warbeck' and 'The Last Man'. Most were not well received in her lifetime, though, only being fully appreciated from the 1960s.
She moved in a circle of famed 19th-century writers and philosophers. She was married to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and spent time with Lord Byron. Her mother was the philosopher and feminist activist Mary Wollstonecraft and her father was the political philosopher William Godwin.

Mary Shelley’s work has been adapted for TV, stage and film on many occasions, with Boris Karloff famously playing Frankenstein’s monster on screen in 1933. Other adaptations include ‘Mary Shelley's Frankenstein’ (1994) starring Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro and ‘Viktor Frankenstein’ (2015) starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy. Most recently, Elle Fanning portrayed Mary in Haifaa Al-Mansour’s film ‘Mary Shelley’ from 2017.

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