Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley
Celebrating Mary Shelley’s Birth Date, August 30, 1797
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos …” Mary Shelley
Every year, the most ardent Mary Shelley fans remember this author on August 30. Frankenstein is still one of the most popular and enduring novels since its publication in 1818. We spend time reading her short stories and browsing her biographies, maybe discovering a new fact about her life and writing.
Did you know Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare? In the preface of the third edition of the novel, Mary says that Frankenstein came to her in a dream. During a sleepless night in her dark room, behind closed shutters “with the moonlight struggling to get through … I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life …”
In 2018, The New Yorker Magazine published a stunning piece The Strange and Twisted Life of Frankenstein by Jill Lapore, a history professor at Harvard. Lapore writes …
‘Like the creature pieced together from cadavers collected by Victor Frankenstein, her name was an assemblage of parts: the name of her mother, the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, stitched to that of her father, the philosopher William Godwin, grafted onto that of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as if Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley were the sum of her relations, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, if not the milk of her mother’s milk, since her mother had died eleven days after giving birth to her, mainly too sick to give suck—Awoke and found no mother.’
You can read more of this fascinating piece at this link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-strange-and-twisted-life-of-frankenstein
The novel, as most of you know, is about Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. For Mary, the Frankenstein name was an inspiration from Castle Frankenstein in Germany. Some biographers note that alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel lived at Castle Frankenstein and was likely the inspiration behind Doctor Frankenstein.
As an additional bonus in remembering Mary Shelley on this anniversary, I am offering my short story, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, as a Kindle Single FREE on Amazon (also FREE via Smashwords online for ibooks, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, PDF, epub, and more).
Beyond Castle Frankenstein was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.
Here is a recent review of Beyond Castle Frankenstein:
“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations. Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.
Do leave a comment here if you read the story. I have just reprinted it June of this year for Kindle Single and in need of reader response. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s home in Italy.
On this blog, in the above INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES, you will find five short stories by Mary Shelley, and her famous essay of 1824 On Ghosts.
Watch the film Mary Shelley by IFC Films staring Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Jack Hickey, Joanna Froggatt, Ben Hardy, and Stephen Dillane. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.
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