Originally published in 1823, Valperga is probably Mary Shelley’s most neglected novel. Set in 14th-century Italy, it represents a merging of historical romance and the literature of sentiment. Incorporating intriguing feminist elements, this absorbing novel shows Shelley as a complex and intellectually astute thinker.
About the authors
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
Tilottama Rajan is Canada Research Chair and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of Dark Interpreter: The Discourse of Romanticism (also published by Cornell University Press), Deconstruction and the Remainders of Phenomenology: Sartre, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, and Romantic Narrative: Shelley, Hays, Godwin, Wollestonecraft.
“This is a superb edition of Mary Shelley’s historical romance Valperga. Professor Rajan provides an extremely illuminating introduction to the novel, one that is finely informed by her extensive knowledge of women’s literary history, Italian history, British Romanticism, and critical theory. She sensitively analyses the ways in which Shelly’s complex bio-textual relationships to both her husband and her father play out in the novel. She also provides extensive and invaluable annotations, chronologies, appendices of relevant writings by Godwin, Sismondi, Machiavelli, and the earliest reviews of the novel.” — Anne K. Mellor, UCLA