“I do not know that the relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale, one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking and console you in case of failure.” – Frankenstein
So what did you accomplish when you were 18? Did you graduate high school? Get your first job? Begin college? Join the military? Well, if you were Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, you authored one of the first and most influential science fiction/horror novels ever written, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
In 1816, referred to as the “year without a summer” due to the dark skies caused by the previous year’s volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora, Shelley responded to a friendly dare to write a ghost story, with the result being the world’s most famous monster, handcrafted by a certain Victor Frankenstein.
The book’s influence on popular culture is immeasurably vast, and the story behind Shelley’s most famous work is almost as interesting as the Frankenstein novel itself; and now you can learn about the author and what her “ghost story” has “so divinely wrought” at the new ASU exhibit, Frankenstein at 200.
From the exhibit’s website:
“No work of literature has done more to shape the way people imagine science and its moral consequences than “Frankenstein;” or “The Modern Prometheus,” Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility. The novel’s themes and tropes continue to resonate with contemporary audiences, influencing the way we confront emerging technologies, conceptualize the process of scientific research, and consider the ethical relationships between creators and their creations.”
Arizona State University is the global hub for the worldwide celebration of Frankenstein’s bicentennial. The ASU exhibit is free and can be seen at the Hayden Library on the ASU campus through the end of the year.