How was the story of Frankenstein conceived?
Hitchcock: The version we tell today took shape in the summer of 1816 as 18-year-old Mary Godwin traveled with her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, and her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley, to Geneva, Switzerland. They were in search of Claire’s intended love, the poet Lord Byron. Godwin and company rented a cottage downhill from Byron’s villa, and the group spent many a night together. To amuse themselves, they read from the German ghost story book “Phantasmagoriana,” and at some point, Byron challenged his friends to write better. Of the group, three produced works that went into print. Mary Godwin (later to marry and become Mary Shelley) began “Frankenstein.” The idea came to her in June 1816; she worked on it through the coming year, and the book was published early in 1818. What was Mary Shelly’s original monster like? What did he symbolize when she wrote him nearly 200 years ago? When you read the novel for a description of the monster, you come up with very little. He stood eight feet t