Mary Shelley, by Reginald Easton (1820). Public domain. Source Wikimedia Commons
Mary was born in 1797 to William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother died shortly after Mary was born.Shelley learned about her mother only through writings her mother left behind, including A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) which advocated that women should have the same educational opportunities as rights in society as men.
Mary Shelley's life is as compelling as is her novel,'Frankenstein'. Read about how Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein.
Nineteenth Century, 1800-1899
Romantic Period, 1780-1837
Gothic Novel, 1764-c.1820
Frankenstein is generally categorised as a Gothic novel, a genre of fiction that uses gloomy settings and supernatural events to create an atmosphere of mystery and terror. Read about the characteristics of Gothic Literature.
Gothic Fiction (literary genre) books in the Library collection.
Gothic Fiction: A Research Guide
The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 7th edition, defines "Gothic Fiction" in this way:
"A mode of narrative fiction dealing with supernatural or horrifying events and generally possessed of a claustrophobic air of oppression or evil...the literary tradition confusingly designated as ‘Gothic’ is a distinct modern development in which the characteristic theme is the stranglehold of the past upon the present, or the encroachment of the ‘dark’ ages of oppression upon the ‘enlightened’ modern era. In Gothic romances and tales this theme is embodied typically in enclosed and haunted settings such as castles, crypts, convents, or gloomy mansions, in images of ruin and decay, and in episodes of imprisonment, cruelty, and persecution."
Mary Shelley's papers are part of the Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library
Books in the Library Collection
Gothic Fiction (literary genre) books in the Library Collection.
Frankenstein : or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley Wollstonecraft (ebook)
Frankenstein : complete, authoritative text with biographical, historical, and cultural contexts, critical history, and essays from contemporary critical perspectives (critical edition) PR 5397 F7 2000 in Richmond
Shelley's Frankenstein by Graham Allen (ebook)
The Frankenstein archive : essays on the monster, the myth, the movies, and more by Donald Glut PN 1995.9 F8 G59 2002 in Surrey
A Routledge literary sourcebook on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Timothy Morton PR 5398 R68 2002 in Surrey
Frankenstein : Mary Shelley by Fred Botting
Frankenstein, creation, and monstrosity by Stephen Bann PR 5397 F73 F69 1994 in Surrey
Frankenstein,Roberts, Alice M., host.
Use Boolean operators to help prevent road blocks
"and" connects terms and narrows the search
"or" expands the search (finds either term)
"not" use to exclude terms
Criticism and Interpretation
Frankenstein: The Afterlife of Shelley's Circle (Biblion, New York Public Library)
Schuessler, Jennifer. "'Frankenstein' Comes Alive in the App Store." June 7, 2012. The New York Times.
Frankenstein: Making a Modern Monster(Biblion, New York Public Library)
The Frankenstein Project(Bruce Matsunaga, Department of English, Arizona State University)
Frankenstein's Laboratory (The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis, MN)
The Shelley-Godwin Archive (New York Public Library and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities)
Read this definition of allusion in literature.
Paradise Lost by John Milton - story of man's fall from innocence to painful knowledge; Victor can be compared to Adam, Satan and Eve.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like narrator, tells story as a warning and confession.