George Bernard Shaw Biography Mark Twain Biography
Mary Shelley Bookmark Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851)

“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose.”

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was only 18 years old when she began her masterpiece, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

On a stormy night in 1816, Godwin, her lover, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her stepsister were visiting the chalet of their friend, Lord Byron, on the shores of Lake Geneva. The storm kept them from returning to their own house, and they passed the night reading ghost stories aloud. Afterwards, Byron challenged everyone to write a ghost story.

Several nights later, Mary had a nightmare which she recorded in her journal: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life...he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside.” She had her idea.

Now married to Shelley, Mary completed her novel the following summer, and it was published in January 1818 to enormous success. Though she would continue to write numerous novels, none would match the influence of her first work.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
(1797–1851)