1st Edition

The Clairmont Family Journals 1855-1885

Edited By Sharon Joffe Copyright 2021

    This edition presents the extant journals of Pauline Clairmont (1825–1891) and Wilhelm Clairmont (1831–1895), the niece and nephew of Claire Clairmont (1798–1879) who was Mary Shelley’s (1797–1851) stepsister. It also includes a journal originally attributed to Pauline but which likely was Walter Gaulis Clairmont’s (1868–1958; Wilhelm’s son). All three journals are currently deposited in the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at the New York Public Library. Pauline and Wilhelm spent many years living and working in places like Australia and the Banat and their adventures are recorded in their journals. Pauline wrote a series of sixteen journals cataloguing her life; however, except for one journal, all the remaining journals have been lost. Her extant journal, written primarily in English but with French and German entries, documents her struggles in the Australian outback during the 1850s and her relationship with William Henry Suttor, Junior, who would later become a pastoralist and a politician. Pauline’s journal tells of her love for Suttor, her disappointment at his rejection, and her musings about her life in Australia. In his journal, Wilhelm chronicles his attempts to purchase a farm in Europe while Walter provides us with an account of his 8-day Austrian expedition. This new edition brings together these three journals, thereby extending our understanding of the Shelley-Clairmont family. The edition includes an introduction to the primary Godwin-Shelley-Clairmont circle and a chapter on the history of life writing. The editor provides extensive editorial notes and carefully researched chapters to contextualize The Clairmont Family Journals: 1855–1885.


    Editorial Standards and Practices

    List of Abbreviations

    List of Illustrations

    Editorial Symbols

    Chronology of Pauline Clairmont

    Chronology of Wilhelm Clairmont

    Chapter One: Introduction: The History of the Shelley and Clairmont Families

    Chapter Two: Pauline Clairmont’s Australian Journal (1855–1857)

    Chapter Three: Wilhelm Clairmont’s Journal (1861)

    Chapter Four: "Meine Fussreise im Juli 1885": Walter Clairmont’s Journal (German transcription and English translation; 1885)

    Chapter Five: Pauline Clairmont, the Governess Occupation, and the Genre of Life Writing

    Appendix A: The Godwin-Shelley-Clairmont Family Genealogical Table

    Appendix B: Historicizing the Journals: Australia, Austria, and the Banat

    Appendix C: Wilhelm Clairmont’s 1873 Certificate of Appointment as an Appraiser

    Appendix D: Pauline Clairmont’s 1891 Death Certificate

    Appendix E: William Godwin and Mary Jane Clairmont’s "Certified Copy of a Marriage Certificate" from 1940

    Appendix F: Walter Clairmont’s and Alma Crüwell-Clairmont’s testimonies from the 1930s

    Appendix G: Rosalie Lady Mander’s Letters from 1937–1938 to Alma Crüwell-Clairmont



    Sharon L. Joffe is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Lamar University, USA