Born in London, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-51) was the daughter of William Godwin, a noted social theorist, and Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the leading literary women of the day. Her mother died soon after her birth, and Mary was raised first under the care of servants, then by a stepmother, and finally in the rarefied intellectual atmosphere of her father's circle. In May 1814, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley and, in July of the year, moved with him to the Continent. Two years later, after the death of Shelley's wife, the poet and Mary were able to wed. It was in Switzerland in 1816, as a result of a story-writing competition among the Shelleys and Lord Byron, that Mary began Frankenstein, her first and most famous novel. Published in 1818, it was followed by such works as Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), and Falkner (1837). In 1822, after the death of her husband, she devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and the securing of his right to the Shelley family title.