When I was eighteen or nineteen do you know what I was doing?
Not crafting a masterpiece of literature while spending time with my soulmate. I believe I was actually freaking out over college applications coming in.
Mary Shelley was fast working on something that would leave her a master of a genre, perhaps one of the foremost writers of the gothic horror movement.
She was writing about humanity in a way that was horrific, in a way that would make every reader consider how they react to people, what they would do if they could harness the power of God and “how on earth a woman could come up with such a plot?”
In the company of her husband, Percy, and none other than Lord Byron himself Shelley would later say that the plot came to her when she lay her head down to sleep. However I doubt she would realize until much later the impact that this novel would have in later years. How it would continuously be in print, and would spurn on continuous re-writes, movie adaptaions, TV adaptations, halloween costumes, comics, jokes, drawings…
But there’s a reason it lasts and it lies in the beauty of the writing. The well formed, elegant prose, guaranteed to enrapture and capture the reader, the slow unraveling of the story and the very question of what it means to be human. Of what it means to have power.
It is also to see, given context how this book may have ended up banned, though I will never agree with banning any book. But the author in question was not only female, but wrote about someone taking in the power of God, of creating life without married reproduction.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a classic, or anyone who loves a scientific spurned horror tale. Or just anyone.