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Mary Shelley and


By: Matt Cimenski Mary Shelley was born in London. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died of puerperal fever 10 days after giving birth to her. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mary Shelley and

Mary Shelley and
By Matt Cimenski
Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley was born in London. Her mother,
Mary Wollstonecraft, died of puerperal fever 10
days after giving birth to her. In her childhood
Mary Shelley was left to educate herself. While
she was young, she would read in her fathers
library and engage in stimulating conversations
with artists and intellectuals who were her
fathers students. At fifteen, Mary met the poet
Percy Shelley, who was married at the time. Two
years later, she ran off with him to France. They
were married in December 1816, two weeks after
Percy Shelley's first wife drowned. By then Mary
had already given birth to two children.
Percy Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was the heir of a rich
estate acquired by his grandfather. He was born
at Field Place, near Horsham in Sussex, into an
aristocratic family. His father, Timothy Shelley,
was a Sussex squire and a member of Parliament.
Shelley attended Syon House Academy and Eton and
in 1810 he entered the Oxford University College.
Percy was an English Romantic poet who rebelled
against English politics and conservative values.
Mary's Parents
Mary Wollstonecraft
William Godwin
Mary Shelley came from a rich literary heritage.
She was the daughter of William Godwin, a
political theorist, novelist, and publisher who
introduced her to well known intellectuals and
encouraged her efforts as a writer. Her mother,
Mary Wollstonecraft, was a writer and early
feminist thinker who died shortly after her
daughter's birth. Her mother was the author of A
Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Her father
became famous with his work An Enquiry
Concerning Political Justice (1793). Godwin had
revolutionary attitudes to most social
institutions, including marriage. Another book he
is known for is Things as They Are, or The
Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794).
In the summer of 1816, nineteen-year-old Mary
Wollstonecraft Godwin and Percy Shelley (whom she
married later that year), visited the poet Lord
Byron at his villa beside Lake Geneva in
Switzerland. Stormy weather frequently forced
them indoors, where they and Byron's other guests
sometimes read from a bunch of ghost stories. One
evening, Byron challenged his guests to each
write one themselves. Mary's story, inspired by a
dream, became Frankenstein.
The reshaping of Mary Shelley's story began
almost from the moment it first appeared. The
1931 Universal Studios production of
Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff as the
monster, started more than a century of variances
of the original story. Compared to Shelley's
sensitive, careful creature, Universal's was
crude and unformed. But the power of Hollywood
image-making gave him an impact as great or
greater than Shelley's, and made him into an icon
of popular culture. Just as Shelley's story was
shaped by the science of the day, so was
Hollywood's influenced by some of the scientific
and pseudo-scientific preoccupations of its day,
including eugenics, robots, and surgical
In 1823 Mary Shelley's father told her of an
English Opera House production of a play entitled
Presumption or, The Fate of Frankenstein.
Though inspired by her novel, the play was done
completely different from her story just as
playwrights, filmmakers, and political
cartoonists have done ever since. Shelley's
original novel, memorable for its story and the
large questions it poses, has been simplified and
distorted, sometimes almost beyond recognition.
When nineteenth-century English editorial
cartoonists wished to depict some group as
brutish, primitive, or inclined to run amok, they
routinely invoked the image of the Frankenstein
monster. Here, their target was the Irish.
The first cinematic version of Frankenstein was
a silent film produced by Edison Films. This film
came two decades before the famous 1931 Universal
Studios picture.
The success of a stage version of Dracula, the
story of a vampire, helped convince producers at
Hollywood's Universal Studios that Americans
would attend horror movies. In 1930, Universal
bought film rights to Peggy Webling's
Frankenstein An Adventure in the Macabre, which
had premiered in London three years earlier. An
obscure English actor, William Henry Pratt, who
went by the stage name of Boris Karloff, played
the monster in Universal's adaptation of the
Webling play. Karloff's success in Frankenstein
made him a star. The film itself became an almost
instant classic of a new genre the horror movie.
In posed studio portraits, Boris Karloff looks
like any another handsome movie actor. Make-up
artist Jack Pierce made him into the monster.
Pierce's three months of research into anatomy
and surgery convinced him that a surgeon
determined to transplant a brain would cut the
top of the skull straight across, hinge it, pop
in the new brain, then clamp it shut. Hence, the
monster's flat, squared-off head. Frankenstein
earned rave reviews, was named to top-ten lists,
and made lots of money. The production cost
290,000 in Depression-era dollars, and earned
more than 12 million.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Classics Illustrated
was considered the thinking child's comic. Some
parents who wouldn't let their children read
comics would still let them read these. Note here
the arctic scene, which appeared in Mary
Shelley's original story but rarely in the work
of her successors.
There are thousands of toys that have been
produced that are based on the original
Frankenstein created by Mary Shelley. Its kind
of scary, but in a way, Frankenstein toys, masks,
comics, and other objects all pay tribute to a
cold-blooded killer. Because of all the movies,
plays, and toys made, Mary Shelleys
Frankenstein will live on forever.
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