Written by Kim A. Woodbridge Literary Sources of Frankenstein — works that Mary Shelley read that influenced her when writing Frankenstein.
The story of a scientist who attempts to bring life to a dead body, Frankenstein has become one of the most iconic and recognizable novels of the past two centuries. Though Shelley produced a variety of works throughout her career—including novels, short stories, and essays—the bulk of critical scholarship has focused on Frankenstein.
Feminist critics have argued that the novel explores a range of themes, including the repression of women, childbirth and parental responsibility, and gender roles at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This later became a major theme in her work, particularly in Mathilda ; believed to have been written c.
In Godwin married a widow named Mary Jane Clairmont. In tensions between Shelley and her stepmother prompted Godwin to send his daughter to stay with William Baxter and his family.
On her return to London later that year, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had become a disciple and financial supporter of her father. In the couple declared their love for each other and eloped to France.
The Shelleys had four children together, though only one survived to adulthood. Shelley lapsed into a deep depression after the deaths of her children, and her relationship with her husband became strained.
Despite their personal losses as well as considerable financial hardships, the Shelleys devoted a great deal of time and energy to the study of literature, language, music, and art, associating with some of the most noted writers of their day, including Lord Byron and Leigh Hunt.
After reading a selection of Gothic stories, the four challenged each other to create their own horrific tales. Shelley became inspired by a discussion between Byron and her husband regarding the notion of creating life with electricity and that night awoke mesmerized by a vision of a creature animated by such means.
In Percy drowned while the couple was living in Lenci, Italy. A year later, Shelley returned to England with her son. Her financial situation improved when her father-in-law increased her allowance after her son came of age, and the pair traveled to Europe, where Shelley wrote a number of travel essays.
Too ill in her last years to complete her most cherished project, a biography of her husband, Shelley died on February 1,at the age of fifty-four. However, acting in sharp contrast to the rationality of Enlightenment literature, the Gothic atmosphere of Frankenstein rejects the scientific objectivity of modern science fiction in its sense of the strange and the irrational.
An epistolary novel told in increasingly tightening circles, or frames, and interspersed with poetry, Frankenstein concerns a driven medical student, Victor Frankenstein, who desires to use science to bypass God and create human life in his laboratory.
Piecing together a cadaver from discarded corpses, Victor reanimates the body using electricity, bringing "life" to his horrific creation. After the creature awakens, Victor becomes disgusted and abandons his new offspring, leaving the monster to wander the forests alone. Tracking Victor to his family home, the creature demands that Victor take responsibility for his existence and suggests that Victor should build him a mate.
Victor pursues the creature, who leads him north into the Arctic Circle. Here, Victor meets the captain of a doomed polar expedition, Robert Walton, to whom he narrates his tale—the novel is structured as a letter from Walton to his sister.
Although Frankenstein has consistently dominated critical discussions of her oeuvre, Shelley was a prolific author. After Frankenstein, her most recognized work is The Last Manwhich describes a post-apocalyptic future.
Set in the twenty-first century, the novel depicts a plague that devastates Europe and the efforts of the "last man"—Lionel Verney—to reach Rome in a search for other survivors. The work is noted for its inventive descriptions of the future and is considered an early prototype of contemporary science fiction.
Valperga; or, The Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca and The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck are historical novels that have received scant attention from critics, while Lodore and Falknerthought by many to be autobiographical, have frequently been examined by literary historians for their insight into the lives of the Shelleys and their circle of peers.
The daughter, Mathilda, reveals the story to a poet whom she meets while mourning her father in Scotland. Scholars have come to a general consensus regarding Mathilda, suggesting that the characters are largely based on Shelley, her father, and Percy Shelley.
Early commentators relegated the novel to the Gothic genre, practiced by such popular authors of the era as Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Gregory "Monk" Lewis.
Criticism on Frankenstein has proliferated since the s, encompassing a wide variety of themes and approaches. In particular, they have explored the themes of incest, familial relationships, and psychological trauma in Mathilda, offering psychobiological interpretations of the work and viewing it as a revelatory text regarding her relationship with her father.The Life of Mary Shelley – a brief overview of the life of Mary Shelley.
Written by Kim A. Woodbridge. The Summer of – a brief overview of the summer and the events leading up to Mary Shelley’s idea for the novel Frankenstein. Written by Kim A. Woodbridge. Literary Sources of Frankenstein – works that Mary Shelley read that influenced her when writing Frankenstein.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mary Shelley was born August 30, and died February 1, Her nationality was British. By the time she was nineteen, Mary had written one of the most famous novels ever published, Frankenstein; which was published in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
The following entry presents criticism of Shelley's novel Frankenstein (). See also, Mathilda Criticism. When Mary Shelley. Biographical and Critical Essay History of a Six Weeks' Tour through a part of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland, with Letters descriptive of a Sail round the Lake of Geneva, and of the Glaciers of Chamouni Mary Shelley's Journal, edited by Frederick L.
. The Life of Mary Shelley – a brief overview of the life of Mary Shelley. Written by Kim A. Woodbridge. The Summer of – a brief overview of the summer and the events leading up to Mary Shelley’s idea for the novel Frankenstein. Written by Kim A.
Woodbridge. Literary Sources of Frankenstein – works that Mary Shelley read that . Sep 20, · Shelley was born August 30, , to two of the foremost intellectuals of the eighteenth century.
Wollstonecraft, an outspoken advocate for women's rights, died shortly after Shelley's birth.