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Essex: Letters by Frankenstein author Shelley rediscovered at Essex Record Office

18:13 06 January 2014

The seal of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, found on one of the letters discovered by Professor Nora Crook - Credit Essex Records Office

The seal of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, found on one of the letters discovered by Professor Nora Crook - Credit Essex Records Office

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Previously undiscovered letters written by the author of Frankenstein have been discovered in Essex.

Professor Nora Crook, of Anglia Ruskin University, is a renowned scholar of Mary Shelley, wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and creator of the famous horror story about a scientist who succeeds in bringing a corpse back to life.

The 13 letters, to stockbroker Horace Smith and his daughter Eliza, were discovered by Prof Crook in the Essex Record Office’s archives.

Prof Crook, Emerita Professor of English Literature at Anglia Ruskin, said: “It is through one of Smith’s daughters that the letters came to the Essex Record Office.

“No-one would have thought to look there for letters from Mary Shelley to Smith, as Smith had no immediate connection with Essex.

“However, his youngest daughter married into the Round family from Birch, near Colchester. The letters are in the Round family papers.”

As Smith was in the habit of destroying his papers, Shelley’s letters are a rare find.

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