Frankenstein article

Many people believe that the novel Frankenstein was the first ever science fiction story. The story has inspired television programs and computer games. There are at least seventy movies that feature Frankenstein’s monster. This novel was written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

In April 1814, when she was still sixteen, Mary began a romance with the English poet Percy Shelley. Percy greatly admired Mary’s father, William Godwin, and visited his house nearly every day. On 26th June 1814, Percy and Mary declared their love for each other. Four years earlier, Percy had married and run off with Harriet Westbrook, a schoolfriend of Percy’s sister, who was also only sixteen at that time. However, Percy and Harriet were now living apart.

Percy told Mary’s father that he intended to leave Harriet and marry Mary. Mary’s father was extremely angry and told Percy to get out of his house and never come back. The couple ignored Godwin and, in July 1814, they ran off together and started travelling across Europe. In February 1815, Mary, still only seventeen, gave birth to a baby girl, who died ten days later. Mary and Percy married in December 1815, and in January 1816, Mary gave birth to a baby boy.

In May 1816, Mary and Percy travelled with their baby son to Geneva in Switzerland. There they met up with another English poet, Lord Byron, and a few others. It rained every day, and the group were stuck inside with nothing to do, telling each other stories by a log fire.

They started by telling German ghost stories. Then Byron had the idea that they should each write a ghost story. Mary started to become a little anxious because some days passed, and she simply could not think of anything. One night, the group was discussing experiments carried out by the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. Galvani had shown that electricity might be used to make the legs of a dead frog move. Someone suggested that electricity might be used to bring a dead body back to life.

It was past midnight when they went to bed, but Mary could not sleep. Suddenly, the whole story of Frankenstein came to her in a kind of dream, even though she was awake. She intended to write a short story, but Percy encouraged her to make it into a novel. She was still eighteen when she created her first novel, on June 16th 1816. Frankenstein was eventually published in 1818.

On July 8th 1822, Percy drowned in a boating accident in Italy. He was twenty nine. Mary survived to be fifty three years old. She published six more novels as well as travel books and children’s stories.