200 Years ago Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley created the story “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” on a rainy afternoon in Geneva. Mary and her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, were staying with their friend Lord Byron when he proposed they each write a ghost story. The first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London in 1818, when Mary was only 20 years old.
The basis of the story echoes Mary’s travels through Europe. Journeying down the River Rhine the Shelley’s stopped at Gernsheim, just 17 km from Frankenstein Castle. Two centuries earlier an alchemist engaged in experiments. Later, they traveled to Geneva—where much of the story takes place. During her travels her companions discussed galvanism and other medical advances of the day. Eventually, Mary dreamt about a scientist who created life using galvanism–the basis for her novel.
Although serving as the basis for the Western horror story and the inspiration for numerous movies in the 20th century, the book Frankenstein is much more than pop fiction. The story explores philosophical themes and challenges Romantic ideals about the beauty and goodness of nature.
The complete story can be found here.