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William Godwin- Letter to Mary Shelley
Part of the Shelley's Ghost Exhibition. This is the letter Godwin wrote to Mary after hearing of Shelley's death.
Initially he seems more sorry for himself than for his daughter, complaining of her failure to write to him, but he then talks hopefully of their reconciliation. He and Mary had not seen each other for nearly four years, and for some time Shelley had intercepted Godwin's letters to Mary because, he said, their dismal contents distressed her. Now Godwin anticipates the removal of the obstacles between himself and Mary: she was no longer married to a member of the landed gentry, 'one of the daughters of prosperity', and was back on the same social level as himself, 'an unfortunate old man and a beggar'; he will be able to help with her affairs, and perhaps act as her lawyer; and she will, he assumes, leave Italy and return to England. Mary's reply has not survived (none of her letters to her father have), but on her return to England she would indeed re-establish her relationship with Godwin, to whom she had always been devoted.
- Download: 81_nairne_godwin_letter-2010.mp3 Audio (3.28 MB)