With a new production of Frankenstein opened at The National Theatre directed by Danny Boyle - Radio 4 presents a reading by Emilia Fox of the only other finished work of fiction by the celebrated author of Frankenstein - Mary Shelley.
With its shocking theme of father-daughter incest, Mary Shelley's publisher father, known for his own subversive books -not only refused to publish Mathilda when she sent it to him early in 1820, he also refused to return her only copy of the manuscript, calling it 'disgusting and detestable'.
The work was never published in her lifetime and was only brought to light in the early 1950's when it was unearthed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
In our own times the novella doesn't seem nearly so shocking - but her father's attempted suppression is perhaps understandable: unlike Frankenstein, written a year earlier, Mathilda uses fantasy to study a far more personal reality.
As she lies on her deathbed, the narrator tells her story.
She is a young woman whose mother died in her childbirth - just as Shelley's own mother died after hers - and whose relationship with her bereaved father becomes sexually charged as he conflates her with his lost wife, while she herself becomes involved with a handsome poet.
Yet, despite characters clearly based on herself, her father, and her husband, the narrator lifts the story beyond autobiographical resonance into something more transcendent: a passionate tale of a brave woman's search for love, atonement, and redemption.
From her deathbed in an isolated country cottage, Mathilda, a young gentlewoman with a tragic past, sets out to tell her closest friend and the wider public the secret behind her long depression and self imposed seclusion - Abridged by Eileen Horne
Read by Emilia Fox
Produced by Clive Brill
A Pacificus Production for BBC Radio 4.
Emilia Fox reads the only other finished work of fiction by celebrated author Mary Shelley