Frances "Fanny" Imlay

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Frances "Fanny" Imlay

Birthplace: England, UK
Death: Died in UK
Cause of death: suicide
Immediate Family:

Daughter of First Lieutenant Gilbert Imlay (Continental Army) and Mary Wollstonecraft
Half sister of Fanny Imlay and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Managed by: Private User
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About Frances "Fanny" Imlay

Frances "Fanny" Imlay (legally Frances Wollstonecraft; 14 May 1794 – 9 October 1816), also known as Fanny Godwin, was the illegitimate daughter of the British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the American commercial speculator Gilbert Imlay.

Although Mary Wollstonecraft and Gilbert Imlay lived together happily for brief periods before and after the birth of Fanny, Imlay left Wollstonecraft in France in the midst of the French Revolution. In an attempt to revive their relationship, she travelled to Scandinavia on business for him, taking the one-year-old Fanny with her, but the affair never rekindled. After falling in love with and marrying the philosopher William Godwin, Wollstonecraft died in childbirth in 1797, leaving the three-year-old Fanny in the hands of Godwin, along with the newborn Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (the future author of Frankenstein).

Four years later, Godwin remarried and his new wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, brought children of her own into the marriage, most significantly from Fanny Imlay's and Mary Godwin's perspective, Claire Clairmont. Both girls resented the new Mrs Godwin and the attention she paid to her own daughter. The Godwin household became an increasingly uncomfortable place to live as tensions rose and debts mounted. The teenage Mary and Claire escaped by running off to the Continent with the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1814. Fanny, left behind, bore the brunt of Godwin's anger. She became increasingly isolated from her family and committed suicide in 1816 at the age of 22.

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