Did you know that this year, 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of the novel Frankenstein?
Written by Mary Shelley and published when she was just 20 years old, the novel grew out of a writing challenge proposed by Lord Byron when Mary and her future husband Percy Shelley were staying with him at Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. This challenge would also produce the first modern vampire story (The Vampyre by John Polidori, published in 1819). Encouraged by Percy, Mary expanded her short story into a full novel, which was published as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in 1818 with a first print run of just 500 copies. Curiously, it was published annonymously and Shelley’s name would not appear on the novel until its 1823 printing.
Regarded as one of the break out Gothic Horror novels and one of the first Science Fiction stories, the book has been adapted to both stage and screen numerous times, including the 1931 Frankenstein (and its two sequels, The Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein) staring Boris Karloff as the monster and a series of films by British studio Hammer Films which stared Peter Cushing as the infamous Doctor Frankenstein.
A common mistake is the belief that the name Frankenstein refers to the creature itself, something perpetuated in some adaptions (for example: the the Japanese film Frankenstein Conquers the World and the animated Hotel Transylvania film series). In truth it is actually the name of the main character: Doctor Victor Frankenstein.
Why not celebrate the bicentenary of this classic by reading the novel or perhaps enjoying one of the many film adaptions or even read about the author and the books impact on literature.