August 30: Mary Shelley

On this date in 1797, the author of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was born. Frankenstein is the story of a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London in 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in France in 1823.

Curriculum connections: British literature, epistolary novel, Frankenstein, Gothic novel, horror, Mary Sheley, Romanticism, science fiction.

Mary Shelley Banner

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Mary Shelley

Portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) by Richard Rothwell. Original at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London, England in 1818. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. Frankenstein is a part of the Monstrous Creatures collection on Lit2Go.

Frankenstein Frontispiece

Frontispiece from the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) from the ClipArt ETC website. Percy was a Romantic poet who died in an apparent boating accident in Italy. After Percy’s death, Mary promoted his writing and also assisted friends who where writing memoirs of Percy.