Friday, February 24, 2012

Mary reaches the NYPL

Opening today is another opportunity to see the very notes Mary Wollstonecraft penned to William Godwin, while labouring to deliver the future Mary Shelley. Readers will remember the excursion with Japanese historian Chihiro Umegaki to the final days of the exhibition entitled "Shelley's Ghost: Reshaping the legacy of a literary family". Here's my review of the enduring aspects of the exhibition (website, book, etc.)  It was put on at the Bodleian in collaboration with the New York Public Library, home of the Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, and now has reached that institution, under the title "Shelley’s Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet".

Those interested in Mary Wollstonecraft should note the change of focus: the official website says "The exhibition, curated by Stephen Hebron, was shown in a slightly different form at The Bodleian from December 2010 to March 2011."  I called the English version Our Lady, Her Husband, Their Daughter, and the Tousle-hair'd Poet. It seems that in Manhattan, the parents are downplayed, and the young 'uns bigged up.

There is another confirmation that most people who have heard of Mary Wollstonecraft have done so only because they think she wrote Frankenstein:
"It's very exciting for people who don't know Shelley so well, people who are getting a first introduction to his poetry and Mary and his parents," curator Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger said in an interview about the exhibit, which delves into the radical politics that both Shelley and his wife identified with.
I very much doubt that Delinger said "his parents", but that is what the reporter heard, or what her editor "corrected" her copy to. That quote is from Frankenstein's Monster Alive at NYPL Shelley Exhibit

It's at the NYPL till Jean Baptiste Day, in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Love those American philanthropists!

1 comment:

  1. Roberta,
    I got to visit this exhibition recently. I ran across it unexpectedly. A pleasant surprise. They had on display a necklace woven from Mary Wollstonecraft's hair! I (illegally) captured a picture of it with my cellphone! I was completely caught of guard. Being so close, in person, to Mary, it was an unexpected honour.