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Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley Frankenstein Modern Prometheus 1931 The author, Mary Shelley, was born Mary Wollstonecraft in London in 1797 and died in 1851 at the age of 54 from a ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
  • Modern Prometheus

The author, Mary Shelley, was born Mary
Wollstonecraft in London in 1797 and died in 1851
at the age of 54 from a brain tumor. Shelley was
19 years old when she wrote this Gothic novel in
1816. At the time she was married to a poet,
Percy Shelley, who helped her with the editing
process of this novel.
Mary wrote the novel one summer while she
vacationed at Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The
weather was unseasonably cold. For entertainment,
Mary Shelley, her husband (poet) Percy Bysshe
Shelley, (poet) Lord Byron, and Jane Clairmont
would sit around reading ghost stories.
(No Transcript)
On June 15, 1816, a challenge was issued among
the four of them to see who could write the most
terrifying story. Mary Shelleys story is based
on her life experiences, her dreams, and
scientific research and experiments of that time
Mary Shelley had previously suffered with
nightmares in 1815 after her daughter died two
weeks after birth. Repeatedly Mary dreamt her
baby was just cold, and that she herself brought
her daughter back to life after messaging the
infants lifeless body while sitting next to a
warm fire.
On June 15, 1816, Mary experienced a different
nightmare in which she dreamt, a pale student of
unhallowed arts creates a living being from
dead parts. (Frankenstein p.x) unhallowed
against what is considered holy and sacred
immoral and unethical according to societys
That dream was the basis for her gothic story.
Ironically, Mary Shelley was the only one out of
the group to finish her tale of terror. Mary
Shelleys gothic novel was published in 1818 when
she was just 21. She went on to publish other
works, but none ever matched the popularity of
Mary Shelleys novel wasnt based on her dreams
alone. In the early 1800s, scientists were
obsessed with finding a way to bring the dead
back to life. Mary found this idea fascinating
and kept current with all new science experiments
taking place during her time. Luigi Galvani was
one scientist that believed that electricity
was the life force for living beings.
He would take dead animals and shock their bodies
with high currents of electricity. The corpse
would jolt when shocked with electrical currents.
Luigis nephew, Giovanni Aldini, took the
experiment one step further. In London, on
January 17, 1803, he publicly performed this
experiment on the corpse of a human being, a
prisoner that had been executed by hanging.
Giovanni attached live wires to the corpse 120
plates of zinc and 120 plates of copper.
Giovanni reported, the jaw began to quiver,
the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted,
and the left eye actually opened.(Frankenstein,
p. xx)
The muscles of the corpse were shocked to such a
degree that the corpse appeared animated to the
public. With Frankenstein, the sci-fi era began.
The novel contains the 3 elements essential for
all science fiction work (1)its based on valid
scientific research (2)gives a persuasive
prediction of what science might achieve in the
future (3) and it offers a humanistic critique
of the benefits and dangers of either the
achievement or scientific thought. (p. xx)
Structure and Point of View
Frame Story
Epistolary carried by letters
  • Romantic Movement (1770-1870)
  • This movement is not about romance or love but
    about disillusioned liberals who were tired of
    the common people being oppressed by tyrant
    rulers. This time period happens simultaneously
    with revolutions around the world the American
    R. 1776, the French R. 1789, the French Reign of
    Terror 1793, Napoleon is crowned Emperor--1804.
  • Nature imagery is a key element in Romantic
    literature because human tyranny could not
    control nature. For the Romantics, nature
    represented peace and they believed that all
    emotional healing came from nature.
  • Nature imagery is abundant in Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
Gothic Literature Its an offshoot of Romantic
literature. Along with nature having the power
of healing, Gothic writers gave nature the power
of destruction. Many storms arise in the book,
including storms the night the creature comes to
life The most common feature of Gothic
literature is the indication of mood through the
weather. When bad things are going to happen in a
Gothic novel, the reader knows it because there
is inevitably a storm outside. (Grudzina)
  • Yeliz