When you hear "Frankenstein", what do you think of? I think of two movies; the 1931 adaptation with Boris Karloff and Colin Clive or the 1974 adaptation with Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle. There are so many movies made about this character. From just Frankenstein to movies about Frankenstein's bride, comic adaptations with Abbot and Costello, Frankenstein's island, Jesse James meets Frankenstein's daughter (really?), Dracula and Frankenstein and kids version called Frankenweenie. I think I counted 60+. Do the movies follow the book?
Mary wrote Frankenstein in 1816 at the age of 18 on a writing challenge. According to the show we watched, Mary had run away with her lover Percy Shelley when she was 16. They traveled and stopped in Switzerland for awhile. In the summer of 1816, they spent the summer hanging out with Lord Byron, John William Polidori and Claire Clairemont. They were all interested in writing etc, and also opium laced wine. One of the group set forth a challenge that they all write something spooky and report back. Apparently Mary was having quite a time with trying to come up with an idea and the group was really giving her a hard time. Finally the idea for the Frankenstein book came to her in not a dream but a reverie. (I wonder if it had something to do with the wine).
Here is what the book is actually about:
"Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823. Shelley had travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim which is just 17 km (10 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before an alchemist was engaged in experiments. Later, she traveled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the story within the novel. Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story, because unlike in previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films, and plays. Since publication of the novel, the name "Frankenstein" is often used to refer to the monster itself, as is done in the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling. This usage is sometimes considered erroneous, but usage commentators regard the monster sense of "Frankenstein" as well-established and an acceptable usage. In the novel, the monster is identified via words such as "creature", "monster", "fiend", "wretch", "vile insect", "daemon", "being", and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the monster refers to himself as "the Adam of your labours", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead "your fallen angel."
It's pretty fascinating that a person in 1818 would think up the subject of bringing someone back to life, the procedure, using electricity etc. And for a woman to write about a subject like at the time was unheard of. I wanted to know a bit more about her also. The feature on Mary and the book, shared that her first child died as an infant. Some speculate that her loss triggered the ideas of bringing a person back to life. I found it interesting that so much of her bio was like a teenager in the 60's... A teenager has a boyfriend her father doesn't like, she drops out of school, runs away with the boyfriend, uses drugs, gets pregnant etc. Gosh.
Here is more about her life from Wiki:
Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.
After Wollstonecraft's death less than a month after her daughter Mary was born, Mary was raised by Godwin, who was able to provide his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his own liberal political theories. When Mary was four, her father married a neighbour, with whom, as her stepmother, Mary came to have a troubled relationship.
In 1814, Mary began a romance with one of her father's political followers, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married. Together with Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont, Mary and Shelley left for France and travelled through Europe. Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816, after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.
In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53.
Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelley’s achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Studies of her lesser-known works, such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46), support the growing view that Mary Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life. Mary Shelley's works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin."
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley