Introduction and Background

The story of Frankenstein and his monster came about in a very unusual way. In1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover were traveling in the Swiss Alps. It started to rain very hard for a prolonged period of time and they were forced to remain in their lodgings due to the weather. Because they could not go out and see the sights as they had planned they started reading ghost stories in an effort to entertain one another. One of their neighbors and friends was Lord Byron, who was already a renowned poet. His suggestion was that they put their pens to people and see which one of them could write a great ghost story of their own. Naturally, Godwin took the prize as having the best story between the two of them. It took its place among all the German tales they had been reading and also went on to be published and become a bestseller. As a Gothic classic, readers are enjoying Frankenstein nearly two centuries after it was first created.

Mary Godwin was born in London in August of 1797. Her mother was a writer of feminist tracts and other works. She died during Mary's birth and Mary was in the care of her father. He was part of a group of radical thinkers such as William Blake and Thomas Paine, so Mary's upbringing exposed her to new and innovative ideas as well as connections with notable people. One of those people was Lord Byron and another was Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley was a young poet at the time, and they decided in 1814 to run away together. They toured Switzerland, Germany, and France during their adventures. Mary was in need of an escape from her family and Percy Shelley was interested in getting away from his wife for a time. Their affair was very happy at first but it did not stay that way. It was strained because of Percy's wife and the demands she was placing on him. The relationship came and went for some time, and Mary also took up with another man.

Harriet became pregnant with Percy's child but drowned herself before the baby was ever born. That took place in November of 1816 in London, and Percy and Mary...

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Essays About Frankenstein