By 张凯芳
From Class 1
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
An English Romantic
Best known for her novel
"Frankenstein; The Modern
Prometheus" (1818)
Frankenstein has
transcended the Gothic and
horror genres and is now
recognized as a work of
philosophical and
psychological resonance.
Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
Mary’s Life
Born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in Somers Town, London in
1797, second daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William
Ten days after birth: her mother died of puerperal fever
At the age of ten: published her first poem
1814: met and eloped with Percy Shelley to France
1816: married Percy
1814-1822: gave birth to 4 children, but only one survived
1822: Percy died, Mary returned to England
1851: Mary died.
Wretched life as Frankenstein and the monster’s.
Mounseer Nongtongpaw; or, The
Discoveries of John Bull in a Trip to Paris
(London: Printed for the Proprietors of the
Juvenile Library, 1808).
History of a Six Weeks' Tour through a part
of France, Switzerland, Germany, and
Holland, with Letters descriptive of a Sail
round the Lake of Geneva, and of the
Glaciers of Chamouni (London: Published
by T. Hookham, jun., and C. & J. Ollier,
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
(3 volumes, London: Lackington, Hughes,
Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818; revised
edition, 1 volume, London: Henry Colburn &
Richard Bentley, 1831; 2 volumes,
Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1833).
Valperga: or, The Life and Adventures of
Castruccio, Prince of Lucca, 3 volumes
(London: G. & W. B. Whittaker, 1823).
The Last Man (3 volumes, London: Henry
Colburn, 1826; 2 volumes, Philadelphia:
Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1833).
The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (3 volumes,
London: Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley,
1830; 2 volumes, Philadelphia: Carey, Lea &
Blanchard, 1834).
Lodore (3 volumes, London: Richard Bentley,
1835; 1 volume, New York: Wallis & Newell,
Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and
Scientific Men of Italy, Spain, and Portugal,
volumes 86-88 of The Cabinet of Biography,
in Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopedia, conducted
by Reverend Dionysius Lardner (London:
Printed for Longman, Orme, Brown, Green &
Longman and John Taylor, 1835-1837;
republished in part as Lives of the Most
Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy,
2 volumes (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard,
Falkner (3 volumes, London: Saunders &
Otley, 1837; 1 volume, New York: Harper &
Brothers, 1837).
Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and
Scientific Men of France, volumes 102 and
103 of The Cabinet of Biography (London:
Printed for Longman, Orme, Brown, Green &
Longman, 1838, 1839); republished in part
as Lives of the Most Eminent French Writers,
2 volumes (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard,
Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842,
and 1843, 2 volumes (London: Edward
Moxon, 1844).
The Choice--A Poem on Shelley's Death,
edited by H. Buxton Forman (London:
Printed for the editor for private distribution,
Tales and Stories, edited by Richard Garnett
(London: William Paterson, 1891).
Proserpine & Midas: Two Unpublished
Mythological Dramas, edited by A. Koszul
(London: Humphrey Milford, 1922).
Mary Shelley's Journal, edited by Frederick
L. Jones (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Press, 1947).
Mathilda, edited by Elizabeth Nitchie
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 1959).
Collected Tales and Stories, edited by
Charles E. Robinson (Baltimore & London:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).
The Journals of Mary Shelley, 2 volumes,
edited by Paula Feldman and Diana ScottKilvert (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).
The Last Man, edited by Hugh J. Luke, Jr.
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus,
edited by M. K. Joseph (Oxford & New York:
Oxford University Press, 1969).
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
[1818 text], edited by James Rieger (New
York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974).
 Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe
Shelley, edited, with a preface and notes, by
Mary Shelley (London: Printed for John &
Henry L. Hunt, 1824).
 The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley,
4 volumes, edited, with a preface and notes,
by Mary Shelley (London: Edward Moxon,
 Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations
and Fragments. By Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2
volumes, edited, with a preface and notes,
by Mary Shelley (London: Edward Moxon,
 Letters of Mary Shelley, edited by Henry H.
Harper (Norwood, Mass.: Plimpton, 1918).
 The Letters of Mary W. Shelley, edited by
Frederick L. Jones (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1944).
 My Best Mary: The Selected Letters of Mary
Wollstonecraft Shelley, edited by Muriel
Spark and Derek Standford (London:
Wingate, 1953).
 The Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
3 volumes, edited by Betty T. Bennett
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
1980, 1983, 1988).
Inspiration and Publication
Started in summer in 1816 when Mary joined Percy Shelley and
Claire Clairmont in Lord Byron’s home near Geneva
(Frankenstein’s hometown) .
A challenge set by Byron and Shelley to write the most
frightening ghost story
First published anonymously in London in 1818, but more often
known by the revised third edition of 1831 under Mary’s own
Historical Context
1. The French Revolution and the Rise of
The French Revolution: a throwing off of old traditions and
customs, inspired romantic writer.
In 1815, the English turned their attention to economic and
social problems
The hands-off philosophy of non-governmental interference
with private business led to extremely low wages and terrible
working conditions for employees
2. Science and Technology
Luddite Movement: Working class protested new machines
which took jobs away from them. Because the new machines
produced an unparalleled production rate, fiercer job
competition, and employers didn’t provide decent wages or
working conditions. (Technological development can also be
Erasmus Darwin: biological evolution, one of the central
topics of Mary’s idea for Frankenstein.
Andrew Crosse: galvanism(流电学), or the study of electricity
and its applications, bearing resemblance to Frankenstein’s
Andrew Crosse’s lecture fueled Shelley's imagination to
suggest Victor Frankenstein's step-by-step invention of the
creature in her novel.
The idea of bringing life to those who have passed on was a
concept being entertained by some of the most intelligent
minds at the time.
“…… I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon
lifeless matter.” (P833)
“I collected bones from charnel house; ……” (P834)
3. Arctic Exploration
Late 1700s: beginnings of a new era of ocean exploration.
England's Royal Academy, which promoted the first voyage to
the South seas, appealed to scientists and travelers alike.
Explorers wanted a trade route connecting the Atlantic and the
Pacific Oceans.
In 1818 John Ross went searching for the Northwest passage
and discovered snow cliffs overlooking Baffin Bay, between
Greenland and Canada, reflecting Walton's quest to the North
pole and the era of discovery in which Shelley lived.
“I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages
which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North
Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole.”
(from P816)

Background Knowledge of Frankenstein