The Strange and Twisted Life of “Frankenstein”

Frankenstein isn’t just one of the classic literary novels of its time, one that helped invent science-fiction as we know it, but it’s also a fascinating story in itself — written by an 18-year-old girl, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who at the time was married to the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. This piece by Jill Lepore looks at her background and upbringing and the role her life as a young mother might have played in her incredible creation.

“Frankenstein” is four stories in one: an allegory, a fable, an epistolary novel, and an autobiography, a chaos of literary fertility that left its very young author at pains to explain her “hideous progeny.” In the introduction she wrote for a revised edition in 1831, she took up the humiliating question “How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea” and made up a story in which she virtually erased herself as an author, insisting that the story had come to her in a dream

Source: The Strange and Twisted Life of “Frankenstein” | The New Yorker

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