In Defense of Harriett Shelley
Date: January 2011
Duration: 1 hours 44 minutes
Mark Twain pulls no punches while exposing the "real" Percy Shelley in this scathing condemnation of Edward Dowden's "Life of Shelley". Even though, as Twain writes, "Shelley's life has the one indelible blot upon it, but is otherwise worshipfully noble and beautiful", Twain shows how Percy Shelley's extra-marital conduct might easily be seen to have been the cause of his wife Harriet's suicide.
Harriett Shelley reputation was blackened by Shelley's second wife Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), by Mary's father William Godwin (political philosopher), and by Mary's daughter-in-law Jane, Lady Shelley. Percy and Mary married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.