Mary Shelley and the Transition from Gothic Literature to Science Fiction

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Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus was first published in 1818, when its author, Mary Godwin Shelley, was only 19 years old. Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Godwin was a prominent political philosopher while Wollstonecraft was a noted philosopher and feminist. There was no shortage of philosophy in the young Shelley’s immediate gene pool. Frankenstein is the story of Victor Frankenstein and his quest to create life through the medium of science. Dr. Frankenstein gives up his entire social existence while in pursuit of creation. After considerable hard work, Victor Frankenstein both accomplishes his dream and creates the monster that will haunt him for the rest of his being. While Shelley’s story can be interpreted in read in a variety of ways (there is a link for interpretations related to the 19th century), the focus of this page is to illustrate Shelley’s work as science fiction.

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