How Frankenstein Was Born From a Dream


On March 11, 1818, the novel, FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS, was published anonymously in London. However, as we know now, it was written by a young woman named Mary Shelley. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a grotesque but intelligent creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.

Mary began writing the complex story when she was just 18, and it was published two years later. Her name did not appear on it until the second edition in 1823. The book was written as part of a literary contest of sorts. It happened while Mary was traveling through Europe. She was staying in Geneva with her husband, poet Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and his friend, John Polidori. One night, they had a discussion about occult ideas, and a challenge was proposed about which of them might write the best horror story. Polidori penned a tale called “The Vampyre,” but Mary’s story would become a classic of Gothic Horror literature.

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After thinking for days, Mary dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. Her dream became a story that has had a tremendous influence on horror, science fiction, books, and films — now more than two centuries after it was written.

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