Mary Shelley Writes and Publishes "Frankenstein"

Locked indoors due to a rainstorm in 1816, Mary Shelley, along with her husband, Percy, and their friend, Lord Byron, had a ghost story competition. Impressed by the story Mary told based off a dream she had had, Lord Byron and Percy encouraged her to write it down. Shelley finished writing in summer of 1817, and published Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus on January 1, 1818 anonymously due to fear of how the public would receive a novel written by a woman as well as the philosophical ideas contained therein that challenged Romantic ideals of beauty and nature. It wasn't until the second edition of the novel in 1823 that Shelley revealed herself as the true author, however, despite scholars' admissions to the contrary, rumors spread that Percy had written Frankenstein instead of Mary, and some of these rumors persist even still today. This is due in part to Percy's involvement in the writing by offering corrections and revisions in her notebooks, though that is all they were. Indeed, much of the ongoing conversation regarding Mary Shelley refuses to discuss Shelley in her own right and instead focuses on her relationship with Percy, or her mother's or father's literary accomplishments, or even stories critics claim to have inspired her iconic monster (such as the Greek myth of Pygmalion). The fact remains that Mary Shelley authored Frankenstein and is (at least in part) responsible for the birth of modern science fiction as we know it today.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. Summer 1816 to circa. 1823