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Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child.

It was beneath the trees of the grounds belonging to our house, or on the bleak sides of the woodless mountains near, that my true compositions, the airy flights of my imagination, were born and fostered." Percy Shelley's radicalism, particularly his economic views, which he had imbibed from William Godwin's Political Justice (1793), had alienated him from his wealthy aristocratic family: they wanted him to follow traditional models of the landed aristocracy, and he wanted to donate large amounts of the family's money to schemes intended to help the disadvantaged.

Percy Shelley therefore had difficulty gaining access to money until he inherited his estate, because his family did not want him wasting it on projects of "political justice".

However, the business did not turn a profit, and Godwin was forced to borrow substantial sums to keep it going.

Though Mary Godwin received little formal education, her father tutored her in a broad range of subjects.

Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837).

Studies of her lesser-known works, such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46), support the growing view that Mary Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life.

She had a governess, a daily tutor, and read many of her father's children's books on Roman and Greek history in manuscript.

In the 1831 introduction to Frankenstein, she recalled: "I wrote then—but in a most common-place style.

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.

A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author.