One of the true classic horror tales, this masterpiece by Mary Shelley is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young Swiss student in the 1790s, who discovers the secret of animating lifeless matter, and returning life to the dead. He assembles body parts, creating a monster, who is then rejected by society and vows revenge upon his creator. Join us for a story of imagination and anguish, that cautions about the dangers of science, and has enthralled generations of readers and inspired multitudes of others.
About the Author
Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30, 1797, in Somers Town, London, England, the second child of her mother and first child of her father. Ten days after Mary was born, her mother died. In 1801, her father married Mary Jane Clairmont, who had two children of her own. Mary despised her new stepmother, as Clairmont favored her own children over them. Mary's father tutored her, taking the children on field trips and introducing them to intellectuals like Aaron Burr. She also had a governess and read many of her father's books. In 1814, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley, a radical poet-philosopher who was helping her father pay his debts. He was 22 and she was 17, and they began meeting secretly at her mother's grave. Mary's father disapproved of the relationship, but in July, they secretly left for France, then Switzerland. Upon returning home, Mary found herself pregnant and her father had disowned her. Mary's baby was born nearly two months prematurely, dying after only two weeks and she feel into depression. They had another child in 1816. Later that year, the family travelled to Geneva to visit Lord Byron, who had gotten Mary's stepsister pregnant, and Mary was now calling herself Mary Shelley. It was there that the inspiration for "Frankenstein" came to her. Originally a short story, Percy encouraged her to turn it into a novel which was published in 1818. In 1816, Mary's half-sister and Percy's wife both committed suicide and the couple officially married so that he could take custody of his two children from his wife. In 1817, a court determined Percy was morally unfit and placed them with a clergyman's family. At that point, Mary had her third child. The family headed to Italy, spending their time writing and socializing, but in 1818 and 1819, both of Mary's children died, sending her back into depression. In late 1819, Mary had a fourth child. Later that year, while on a boat trip, Percy and two others were killed in bad weather when the boat sank. After that, Mary turned to writing to survive financially, helping write Percy's and Byron's memoirs. John Howard Payne, an actor proposed, but she rejected him and it is reported that Washington Irving might have proposed as well. In 1839, Mary began suffering from the symptoms of a brain tumor and on February 1, 1851, she died at the age of 53. She is buried at St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth.