Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most classic horror stories of all time. In the 200 years since it was first published, there have been numerous film adaptations and even more costumes inspired by the unforgettable monster.
Here are 5 facts about the book that continues to terrify readers.
1. It was written by a teenager
Mary Shelley started writing the landmark book when she was only 18-years-old. Frankenstein was published when Shelley was 20.
2. The book did not get a good initial reception
One original review read, “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents.” The book gained popularity as the years went by, and in 1823 a play based on Frankenstein made the tale even more popular.
3. Frankenstein shares its name with a castle
In German, Frankenstein means “Stone of the Franks.” Shelley said she made up the name, but a historian claimed that the author visited the castle that bears the name in Germany. A former resident of the castle was Konrad Dippel, an alchemist and physician who was unbalanced. It’s rumored that Dippel, like Dr. Frankenstein, dug up graves and experimented on dead bodies.
4. Some people thought her husband wrote the book
Percy Shelley, Mary’s husband, was a well-known poet and many believed he wrote the famous book, especially because it was originally published anonymously. Percy did, however, edit the book and he encouraged his wife to expand the story into a whole book.
5. Shelley got the idea for the book from a dream
Shelley said she had a waking dream. She described it like this: “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, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life. … He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.”
She began working on the book the very next day.