Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein, The

Dorothy Hoobler, Thomas Hoobler
On a dark and stormy night in 1816, on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Lord Byron, famed English poet, challenged his friends to a contestto write a ghost story. The assembled group included the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; his lover (and future wife) Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; Marys stepsister Claire Claremont; and Byrons physician, John William Polidori. The famous result of that night was Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, a work that appeared in print two years later and has retained its hold on the popular imagination for almost two centuries. Less well-known was Polidoris work, the first vampire novel. It too would inspire a legend (and most directly Bram Stokers Dracula), as well as many nightmares. And the evening begat a curse, too: Within a few years of Frankensteins publication, nearly all of those involved met untimely deaths. THE MONSTERS tells the riveting story of the real-life characters surrounding the creation of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein. It reveals not just the origins of two of the most famous monsters in popular culture, but the monstrous nature of the young people who gathered on the shore of Lake Geneva. Gripping and spooky, THE MONSTERS is unforgettable.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-10-12

An interesting look at the summer of 1816 when a group of young writers and thinkers met and were challenged to write a ghost story. We know quite a bit about one of those books, Frankenstein, but I was surprised to learn that the modern vampire also came out of this summer. 

Reading about Polidori, Lord Byron's personal doctor, created the modern vampire, based on Lord Byron. Before the vampire was a peasant who would prey on a village until killed. Polidori, possibly using a story Byron began, created the aristocratic, sexually charged male vampire. This was one of those little bits of information I'd never known before. That and Polidori was the uncle to the Rossetti family.

If you want a quick biography of Mary and Percy Shelley this is a fantastic book.

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