Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (first published 1818)


In her long introduction Mary Shelley vividly recalled the summer spent at Geneva: the ‘incessant rain’ that ‘confined us for days to the house’; the volumes of ghost stories ‘translated from the German into French’ that fell into their hands, and Byron’s proposition, ‘We will each write a ghost story’…

“I busied myself to think of a story, — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.”   Mary Shelley

To see a page of the novel written in Mary Shelley’s hand, click here.

A link to Project Gutenberg’s:


or the Modern Prometheus


 Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley


And to view exhibits on the life and works of Mary Shelley from the Bodleian Library in partnership with the New York Public Library, click right here or on the blue letters under Mary’s portrait.


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  1. October 31, 2014

    Lovely post for today. I love the story of Frankenstein in from it’s long history.

    • November 1, 2014

      Yes! Even the back story is fascinating, almost more so than the novel.

  2. October 31, 2014

    Fabulous exhibition. Love the earlier portraits of Mary.

    • November 1, 2014

      It makes me think, all this archival treasure… And now everything is digital and there’s no record kept of a novel’s drafts…

      • November 1, 2014

        True, true. We will never see Ms Lester’s handwritten manuscripts… or will we? Victor Hugo’s Les Mis manuscript was on display in Melbourne; what a mighty one that is…945 handwritten pages.

  3. November 1, 2014

    A haunting and beautiful novel.

    I can’t imagine writing a novel BY HAND. Sometimes I look at Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” and It exhausts me to think of the weeks and weeks writing by hand. Not to mention hand cramps…

    • November 1, 2014

      By hand, two huge notebooks full of brilliance. I can’t remember the last time I even wrote a letter and didn’t tap it into my keyboard…

  4. November 1, 2014

    Interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  5. November 8, 2014

    Wow – kismet! Just watched the extras on the newly re-released box set of “Withnail & I” – and Kevin Jackson mentions that one of the paintings hanging in Withnail’s living room is a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft. So I looked her up. And now this.

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