• Publication Date: August 21, 1998
  • ISBN: 9781551111445 / 1551111446
  • 492 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: August 21, 1998
  • ISBN: 9781551111445 / 1551111446
  • 492 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Originally published in 1823, Valperga is probably Mary Shelley’s most neglected novel. Set in 14th-century Italy, it represents a merging of historical romance and the literature of sentiment. Incorporating intriguing feminist elements, this absorbing novel shows Shelley as a complex and intellectually astute thinker.


“This is a superb edition of Mary Shelley’s historical romance Valperga. Professor Rajan provides an extremely illuminating introduction to the novel, one that is finely informed by her extensive knowledge of women’s literary history, Italian history, British Romanticism, and critical theory. She sensitively analyses the ways in which Shelly’s complex bio-textual relationships to both her husband and her father play out in the novel. She also provides extensive and invaluable annotations, chronologies, appendices of relevant writings by Godwin, Sismondi, Machiavelli, and the earliest reviews of the novel.” — Anne K. Mellor, UCLA

Appendix A: from Godwin’s “Of History and Romance”

Appendix B: from Machiavelli’s Life of Castruccio

Appendix C: Extract from Draft Manuscript

Appendix D: from Sismondi’s History of the Italian Republics of the Middle Ages, II: 110-12 (translation Rajan)

Appendix E: Reviews of Valperga

  1. From The Ladies’ Monthly Museum 17 (April, 1823)
  2. From Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine 13 (1823)
  3. From The Examiner 788 (March 2, 1823)
  4. From The Literary Gazette, and Journal of the Belles Lettres 319 (March 1, 1823)
  5. From Monthly Review 101 (May, 1823)

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Tillottama Rajan is one of Canada’s most distinguished Romanticists. She is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, in the Department of English, University of Western Ontario.