Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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One of the best-known Gothic novels, Frankenstein is both a haunting, uncanny novel about the dangers and temptations of scientific progress and an enduring investigation into what it means to be truly human.
So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.
Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear.
The result of a compact (when Mary Shelley was just nineteen years old) between Mary, her husband Percy and Lord Byron one stormy night to write their own haunting stories, Frankenstein remains essential reading today. Influenced by the myth of Prometheus and Milton’s Paradise Lost, this chilling gothic tale would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and continues to be a devastatingly relevant exploration of the limits of human creativity.
Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the daughter of pioneering thinkers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, eloped with the poet Percy Shelley at the age of sixteen. Three years later, during a wet summer on Lake Geneva, Shelley famously wrote her masterpiece, Frankenstein. The years of her marriage were blighted by the deaths of three of her four children, and further tragedy followed in 1822, when Percy Shelley drowned in Italy. Following his death, Mary Shelley returned to England and continued to travel and write until her own death at the age of fifty-three.
Our favourite quote: 'Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.'
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