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Frankenstein - Mary Shelley: Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

This guide is for year 11 literature and explores information about the novel, the author and the times in which she wrote.



Mary was born in 1797 to William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother died shortly after Mary was born. Shelley learned about her mother only through writings her mother left behind, including A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) which advocated that women should have the same educational opportunities as rights in society as men.

Mary Shelley's life is as compelling as is her novel,'Frankenstein'. Read about how Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein 




Historical Context

The novel Frankenstein is set in the latter part of the 18th Century, at the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the Romantic period. It critiques the excesses of the Enlightenment and introduces the beliefs of the Romantics. Read the chapter titled History and Context in Frankenstein from the ebook Bloom's How to Write About Mary Shelley.

Useful Weblinks


Romanticism is a complex artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature (neoclassicism), and was embodied most strongly inthe visual arts, music, and literature, but can be detected even in changed attitudes towards children and education.

 Read about the characteristics of Romaticism in Literature.

Gothic Literature

Frankenstein is generally categorised as a Gothic novel, a genre of fiction that uses gloomy settings and supernatural events to create an atmosphere of mystery and terror. Read about the elements of the Gothic Novel.

Allusion in Frankenstein


 Read this definition of allusion in literature.

Paradise Lost by John Milton - story of man's fall from innocence to painful knowledge; Victor can be compared to Adam, Satan and Eve.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like narrator, tells story as a warning and confession.



  Bloom's How to Write about Mary Shelley:

  Bloom's How to Write about Literature

   by Amy Watkin                                    



Mary Shelley

Bloom's Classic Critical Views

by Harold Bloom


Critical Companion to Mary Shelley

Critical Companion to

by Virginia  Brackett



Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, New Edition

Bloom's Morden Critical Views

by Harold Bloom



1910 Silent Film

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)

Mary Shelley (2017)