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1001 Frankenstein
Added on 06th August 2020

Author Mary Shelley
First published 1818 (anonymously)
Publisher Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Jones, London

One of the most famous horror stories ever written.

Story

Victor Frankenstein has become obsessed with discovering the secret of life and eventually assembles a creature from corpses. He animates his creation but the creature he brings to life is a monster. Frankenstein abandons his creation thinking it will die but the monster survives and sets out to destroy his maker.

Why we chose it

The most famous horror story – and some argue the first true science fiction story - Frankenstein has had a huge influence on popular culture and inspired a genre of horror stories. Although the subsequent films focus on horror and monsters, the novel itself asks far reaching ethical and moral questions about the creation of artificial life and the responsibilities of scientists.

Where it came from

Over a series of stormy nights and days in 1816 a group of housebound literary friends read ghost stories. Lord Byron challenged them to write the scariest ghost story ever. Mary Shelley, then aged only 18, created Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus.

Where it went next

The novel has been adapted hundreds of times for the stage (first in 1823), for film (first 1910); as a mini-series (2015); as a full-length ballet (2016) and in comics and video games. One of the most enduring popular loose adaptations is the horror comedy musical for stage and film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A variety of authors have reworked the story including the Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi (2014, Frankenstein in Baghdad).

Associated stories

Frankenstein reflects Shelley’s readings of Paradise Lost, (1667, Milton), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, (1798, Coleridge) and of Ovid (Roman poet, 43BCE-17/18 ACE).

Mary Shelley was still a teenager when she wrote Frankenstein. Monsters by Sharon Dogar, a Young Adult novel, tells the story of Mary’s meeting with Shelley and of their early years together.

Added on 06th August 2020

Author Mary Shelley
First published 1818 (anonymously)
Publisher Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Jones, London