Monday, 23 January 2012

The History Of "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"

"Frankenstein" or, "The Modern Prometheus" is a novel written by Mary Shelley about an experiment that produces a monster. Shelley started writing the story when she was only eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first edition was actually published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name finally appeared on the second edition, published in France in 1823.

Shelley had travelled the region in which the story takes place, and the topics of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her future husband, Percy. The actual storyline was taken from a dream. Mary Shelley was talking with him and two other writer-colleagues, Lord Byron, and John Polidori, and they decided they would have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for weeks about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. Then Frankenstein was written.....And so the legend was given birth.

The name "Frankenstein" – actually the novel's human protagonist – is often incorrectly used to refer to the monster itself. In the novel, the monster is identified via words such as "monster", "fiend", "wretch", "vile insect", "daemon", and "it"; The monster refers to himself speaking to Dr. Frankenstein as "the Adam of your labors", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead your "fallen angel."

Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story, because unlike in previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. The story is partially based on Giovanni Aldini's electrical experiments on dead and (sometimes) living animals and was also a warning against the expansion of modern humans in the Industrial Revolution, Hence the subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. It has had a considerable influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films.

In 1910 the first on-screen adapt-ion of Shelley's Frankenstein was made by Edison Studios. For many years, this film was believed to be a lost film. Then In 1963, a plot description and stills were discovered published in the March 15, 1910 issue of an old Edison film catalogue, The Edison Kinetogram.

In the early 1950s, a print of this film was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector, Alois F. Dettlaff, from his mother-in-law, who also collected films. He did not realize its rarity until many years later. Its existence was first revealed in the mid-1970s. Although somewhat deteriorated, the film was in viewable condition, complete with titles and tints as seen in 1910. Dettlaff had a 35 mm preservation copy made in the late 1970s. The film, as well as all other motion pictures released before 1922, is now in the public domain in the US.

The rest, as they say, is history. There's no denying the impact that "Frankenstein" has had on the world, the fact it's still talked about today and the abundance of movies, books, comics and more that have been made involving Frankenstein and his monster just shows you how you can't deny it.

If you want to watch the original Frankenstein film, click here

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