Social isolation, financial stress, and haunting grief over deceased loved ones put Mary Shelley in “deep sorrows” throughout much of the 1830s, yet she found one alleviating source of “pleasure” in the research and writing of biographical essays (L II 257, 209). “[T]here is,” she declared, “no more delightful task” (LL I 116). Biographical writing fascinated Shelley throughout her literary career. At seventeen, she started a life of Jean Baptiste Louvet de Couvrai, himself a memoir writer and man of letters as well as a Girondist leader during the French Revolution. The core narrative of Frankenstein, the creature's account of his own history and the life of Safie, functions as both autobiography and biography. Much of Shelley's later fiction, such as Valperga and The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, draws on biographical sources and assumes the shape of fictional life writing. In 1823, Shelley contributed a biographical essay on Rousseau's beloved Madame d'Houdetôt to The Liberal, the radical journal established in Italy by Leigh Hunt and Lord Byron. Several years later, Shelley proposed to the publisher John Murray an ambitious range of biographical ventures, including lives of Madame de Staël, Empress Josephine, Columbus, Mahomet, the “English Philosophers,” and “Celebrated women” (L II 113-15). As Susan J.Wolfson shows in chapter 12, Mary Shelley's 1824 edition of Percy Shelley's Posthumous Poems and her larger 1839 edition of his works feature extensive biographical comments on his life. Shelley also wrote a “Memoir” of her father, William Godwin, for the 1831 reissue of his novel Caleb Williams, and she later composed an advanced draft of his biography, a work she never completed. Shelley joined in many other biographical projects during these years, including her memoir of Lord Byron, now lost, and manuscript notes for a planned life of Percy Shelley, which Thomas Jefferson Hogg later used, or rather distorted, for his life of Percy Shelley (1858). She also produced biographical sketches for Thomas Moore's life of Byron (1830), and Cyrus Redding's portrayal of Percy Shelley in the 1829 Galignani edition of his poetry.