Revising the Author: Shannon’s postcard from Oxford

Shannon with a Mary Shelley revised manuscript page, Oxford, Spring 2016

Shannon with a Mary Shelley revised manuscript page, Oxford, Spring 2016

Why I went…

I am not the best at writing, but I do enjoy it. To know that some of the best writers also needed help revising what they wrote is something that is comforting to me. Mary Shelly became an author of one of the biggest phenomena of all time after she wrote Frankenstein. The story of Frankenstein has entranced so many generations of readers and has inspired many movie directors to create adaptations. As Mary Shelly wrote her story of Frankenstein she could not have imagined that her book would create so much interest. That is what an author hopes and dreams about, but for many that is not the reality. Mary Shelly accomplished her aspirations.

What I got out of the experience…

In the University of Oxford Library there were many books that were displayed because of their literary importance. In Mary Shelly’s case it was not a whole work that was only opened to a page, but a single page that was crossed over with scratches in revision. I found this to be refreshing because it did not show a finished product, but Shelley’s trials as she was writing Frankenstein. In literature the majority of things that you see are the beautiful finished work of an author. Authors are often put onto pedestals by literary buffs because of what the author was able to create. I often forget that the author of a great work does not just sit down one day and say I think “I’m going to write a best-selling book” and then write the whole thing is a day. To write a novel is something that takes time and this exhibit shows the time that is needed to make something great.
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