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Maurice, or the Fisher's Cot: A Long-Lost Tale (1998)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375404732, Hardcover)Mary Shelley's short children's tale, Maurice, or the Fisher's Cot, remained undiscovered for 200 years. It's a charming enough story about a stolen child who is eventually reunited with his parents, but taken on its own merits, Maurice is far more likely to appeal to Shelley scholars than to modern-day children. Fortunately, its publishers recognize this and have sensibly included a fascinating introduction by Claire Tomalin--indeed, the introduction is longer than the story itself. In it, Tomalin describes the circumstances under which the manuscript was rediscovered (in a trunk, in a palazzo, in Tuscany) and its authenticity verified:
We were greeted by Andrea and Cristina Dazzi, and offered coffee. Then the manuscript of Maurice was brought out and laid in front of me on the table: an alarming moment because coffee and manuscripts must not occupy the same space. Once we had separated them, I found Maurice exactly as Cristina Dazzi had described it.Tomalin then goes on to relate the unhappy life of its author from her impulsive elopement to the continent with the then-married Percy Shelley through the early deaths of three of her children and the unorthodox relationship between herself, her husband, and her sister--who may also have been Percy Shelley's lover. So riveting is the preface to Shelley's short story, in fact, that a more accurate title might have been An Introduction by Claire Tomalin with a Long-Lost Tale by Mary Shelley.
Included in this slim volume are two versions of Maurice; one is "corrected and slightly modernized for ease of reading." The other is a facsimile of the original with Shelley's lineation, pagination, spelling, corrections. Read in the context of the author's own unhappy experience of losing children, her fable of a child regained resonates poignantly. This is one lost tale we're glad was found. --Alix Wilber
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:35 -0400)
Maurice is the story of a boy who is stolen as a two-year-old from his wealthy parents by a poor sailor's wife.
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