In 1816, Shelley spent a summer with her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John William Polydori (credited by some as the creator of the vampire genre) near Geneva. Seated around a fire of firewood and with a storm on the outside, Byron proposed that “Each one wrote about a ghost story“. Shelley’s story came to his head. He began to write what he assumed would be a short story, but became his first novel, “Frankenstein.” He later described that summer in Switzerland as the time when I first came from childhood to life.
Mary Shelley Life and work
On 30 August 1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born in London (England). She was the only daughter of the philosopher William Godwin and the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft (wrote in the year 1792 “claiming women’s rights”), who had a maiden daughter named Fanny, conceived after her relations with Gilbert Imlay.
His mother died a few days after birth because of fevers contracted at the time of childbirth. His father was later married to the widow Mary Jane Clairmont, who already had two children from his previous marriage.
Mary grew up and was educated in an intellectual and progressive environment that strongly marked her personality. In the year 1814 began a loving relationship with the romantic poet Percy B. Shelley, who at that time was married to another woman named Harriet.
Shelley often visited Godwin, whom he admired for his intellectual capacity. At the same time he was tightening emotional ties with his daughter Mary, with whom he ended up escaping to France. Harriet, Percy’s first wife, committed suicide in 1816, the year she married the runaway couple.
Mary’s most important literary work was created on a vacation that the Shelleys were enjoying at the Swiss residence of Lord Byron.
On a stormy night, Byron proposed the elaboration of a horror story on the part of each of the attendants in his mansion. In addition to Lord Byron and the marriage Shelley, in his house was the Secretary and doctor of Byron, Polydori, and the mistress of Byron and stepsister of Mary Shelley, Jane (Claire) Clairmont.
A few days after the proposal, Mary read them their creation, “Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus” (1817), a masterful story that became a classic of the Gothic novel.
Since 1818 Mary lived with Percy in Italy until her husband died drowned in the year 1822. After this death he returned to England with his son Percy Florence, continuing his literary work.
In addition to “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley is also the author of other lesser-known titles, such as the futuristic novel “The Last Man” (1826), the historical novel “Valperga” (1823) or “Mathilda”, a incestuous story written in 1819 that did not see the light until the year 1959.
He died of a brain tumor on February 1, 1851. He was 53 years old. It is buried in the church of San Pedro, located in the British town of Bournemouth.
Frankenstein his greatest work
It recounts the creation by Dr. Victor Frankenstein of a new and monstrous creature, which will end up causing terror among its neighbors.
The meaning of creation on the fringe of nature, the tragic emotional bonds created after this gestation or the rupture in the human spirit of the misunderstood monster are some of the issues that Shelley addresses in this masterful Gothic novel with Variants of narrative perspectives, among them that of a very different reflective monster than usually characterized in their cinematographic appearances.
Let’s read a snippet:
Since that day I had no other occupation than physics and especially chemistry, in the broadest sense of the word.
He avidly read the works, so full of genius, that modern investigators had probably written on these subjects……
After days and nights of work and fatigue, I managed to discover the cause of the life generation. Moreover, I managed to give life to the inert matter…….
No one can imagine the variety of emotions that dragged me like a hurricane in the first enthusiasm of triumph… Continuing with my musings, I came to think that if I could give life to the inert matter, could eventually, though it was impossible then, renew life in the bodies to which death had condemned to rot……
On a détective night in November I came to the end of my efforts. With a agonizing anxiety, I set around me the instruments that allowed me to infudir a vital spark to that dead man, who lay at my feet.
It was one in the morning and my lamp was almost consumed when, thanks to its dim Radiance beheld as the yellowish eyes of my work began to open, while inspiring deeply. A compulsive movement made your limbs move…