This post was written in response to this weeks’ Three Line Thursday prompt.
A spark gave life to the monster in her mind,
The twisted ink from her quill ignited the blaze,
Her fingers drew the blood which spilled onto the parchment.
On 31 October 1831, the first revised edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus, was published. This version, which was revised by the author, is the one mostly published and read version of this classic horror story, which also has gothic, romantic, fantasy and even science fiction elements.
Draft of “Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
We have all heard versions of the story of Frankenstien’s birth. It goes something like this:
During the rainy summer of 1816, there was a long, cold, volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora. Mary Shelley, aged 18 at the time, and her lover, and later husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, were visiting Lord Byron at his villa by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Sitting around a log fire during the unusually cold and rainy summer, they amused themselves by reading ghost stories. Byron then suggested they each write a ghost story.
Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell – Scan of a print. Original housed at the National Portrait Gallery.
The short story Mary Shelley started that chilly summer evening became Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was first published in three volumes, anonymously, on 11 March 1818 by a small London publishing house.
It has become one of my favourite novels, and one of the most well-known 19th century literary creations. Frankenstein’s influence on modern culture and psyche is easily recognisable and understandable.
Frankenstein’s monster by actor Boris Karloff (Universal Studios)
Our rebellion against the inevitability of death and loss, and the need, albeit the futility, of rebellion, is a recurrent theme in life and literature.
Shakespeare knew literature was our only hope of influencing, and perhaps even living, beyond our short mortal lives:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
(From Sonnet 18)
I’m currently reading, and enjoying, as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team, Almost Invincible a biographical novel about the life of of Mary Shelley, which I’ll be reviewing shortly.