Journal article

Claire Clairmont and Mary Shelley: identification and rivalry within the “tribe of the Otaheite philosopher’s”

D Coleman

Women's Writing | Routledge | Published : 1999


The relationship between Mary Shelley and Claire Clairmont is usually looked at and analysed from Mary's point of view. This article reopens the debate on their relationship by demonstrating the importance of Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761) for both women. For Claire it offered a way of imaginatively refiguring the triangle of herself, Percy and Mary; for Mary, Rousseau's novel proved to be an important influence on the writing of Frankenstein (1818). The principal aim throughout this article is to put Claire centre stage, where she always wished to be. Through emphasising her “horrors” and her histrionics, and her extraordinary passion for living out literary plots and chara..

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