We will be starting Frankenstein tomorrow (September 3).
*Fun Fact: Frankenstein is not the Monster, Victor Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the Monster.
Frankenstein was written in 1818 (just after the American Revolution, which is wild to think about) by Mary Shelley. As you can guess, anyone who could write something like Frankenstein was a deeply troubled soul. Let’s start with Shelley’s parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Wollstonecraft has often been crowned as the first feminist *yikes* and William Godwin was equally as radical, being a huge proponent of moral and sexual revolution. Wollstonecraft died eleven days after the birth of Mary and Mary was left to her father and two half sisters.
You’ll recall Godwin was a radical and was, therefore, used to having passionate young men dote after and study under him. But one (married) man took a special interest in Godwin’s work, becoming a patron and eventually leaving his pregnant wife to move in with Godwin’s family. This man was Percy Bysshe Shelley and as you may have guessed from the surname, he eventually became romantically involved with Mary. Mary and her younger sister, Claire, left home with Shelley, causing their father’s turmoil and Shelley’s wife to commit suicide. Rather ironic that Godwin was upset by his daughter’s… sexual and moral behavior. Hm. Just goes to show, we are all catechizing our children.
In 1816, Mary birthed a daughter who died days later. Claire, Mary, and Percy joined poet Lord Byron and it was during their time together that Mary wrote Frankenstein. It was also during this time that Mary’s other sister, Fanny, committed suicide. In 1818 Frankenstein was published, anonymously.
Over the next few years, Mary and Percy lost two more children and Mary was widowed at 24 when Percy died at sea. Mary wrote three other books which were not published until after her death (brain cancer) at the age of 53.
So, as we can see, Mary had a sunny life and was all around a solid lady. *Sarcasm*
This week let’s try to make it through the introduction, preface, and Letters 1-4. If that’s too much, we’ll slow down for next week. I have the Canon Classics version of this book so I’ll be dropping great questions and insights from the author of the Worldview Guide, Jake McAtee. The above information on Mary’s life was also gathered from the Worldview Guide.
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