200 Years Later, We’re Still Learning from Frankenstein: The 1818 Text


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There are some books have such a long lasting impact on society. Frankenstein is one such book. The more we progress the more this book becomes relevant.

Reading Frankenstein also causes me to wonder if Shelley’s emphasis on how paternal abandonment destroys children may have been a veiled commentary on her husband’s great friend, Lord Byron. Certainly there was room for critique. Like Percy Shelley, Byron had commenced affairs with women while married, and like Shelley, he had gotten his partners pregnant. In Byron’s case, he had an affair with Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s half-sister, and then abandoned her when she became pregnant. Mary, Percy, their child, Will, and Claire pursued Byron to the shores of Lake Geneva, which set in motion the famous “ghost story” challenge that sparked Frankenstein’s creation. Is it possible that Shelley wanted men to comprehend how much damage they created when they walked away from children?

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Lorraine Berry — Signature

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