Mary Shelley & The Birth of Frankenstein, Part 1
Today, we begin a five-part weekly series “Mary Shelley and The Birth of Frankenstein” with SARAH PARKIN, examining how England’s greatest gothic horror novel came to be. First off, we learn how the author’s parents had a strong influence on the making of the masterpiece.
What comes to mind when you hear the name of Mary Shelley? There’s at least one obvious answer. The woman who gave the world Frankenstein and wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of few women whose marriage to another writer has not overshadowed her own literary achievement. That’s hardly surprising – the 1818 classic is a major contribution to the Gothic genre and arguably the first science fiction novel in English literature. It’s also gripping, original and genuinely frightening. Still, it wasn’t shaped in a vacuum, and neither was its creator. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, as she was born, was surrounded by literary and political influences that can be traced throughout her remarkable career, and nowhere more clearly than Frankenstein.