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In November 1997, a slight book sewn together with string was discovered in a palazzo in Italy. This was Maurice, the only children's story ever penned by Mary Shelley. Written two years after Frankenstein, Maurice is often read as a gloss of Shelley's personal family tragedies, bearing the same melancholy that distinguishes all of her works. As Claire Tomalin shows in her compelling introduction, it contributes greatly to the literary and biographical scholarship on this fascinating woman who was a significant writer in her own right as well as the wife of one of the world's greatest romantic poets.