In 1816, on a stormy summer night, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), her fiancé, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the physician John Polidori visited their friend Lord Byron in his mansion in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Locked in because of the weather, the gang, trying to kill time, was reading ghost stories when Byron suggested a ghost story writing competition. The 18 years old Shelley took up the challenge, and the result is “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.”
The novel is about Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who experimented in creating a human-like creature. The nameless creature, aka “the monster,” is rejected by anyone who sees him. Despite that, the creature is a soulful and intelligent being who has feelings and wishes to meet another creature like him.
Shelley, who won the contest, turned the short story into a novel and published it anonymously in 1818. It sold 500 copies in its first edition while the public believed that the author was her husband Percy Shelley, so when the second edition came out in 1823, it was published under her name.
Photo credit – Andy Mabbett @ Wikipedia
To this day, the 19th-century monster is one of the best-known horror characters, and the story is considered the predecessor of modern science fiction. Throughout the years, the story had inspired more than 60 movies, and Frankenstein’s creature appeared in hundreds of films, TV series, theater productions, and video games.
Frankenstein Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated annually on Mary Shelly’s birthday – August 30th. The day honor Shelly, her life, her groundbreaking literary creation, and its characters, Dr. Frankenstein and the monster.
There are many ways to observe the day:
• Read the novel
• Watch one of its many movie adaptations
• Host a Frankenstein party with quizzes and prizes
• Learn about Shelly’s life and explore other novels she wrote
• Find out how Frankenstein’s monster was interpreted in various perspectives over time and discover its impact on contemporary culture
• Share Shelly’s story and your experiences on social media using #FrankensteinFriday
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