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The Story behind Frankenstein
A few weeks ago I decided to create a book club aimed at people who want to practice English in a pleasant way. The reading club also allows us to discover new stories and new authors; our first experience was with one of the intriguing stories of Sherlock Holmes, by the English author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and in today's post we will not talk about another very famous British author: Mary Shelley.
I am sure you have heard of this author’s most famous piece; known as one of the pioneers of the horror and science fiction genre, Mary Shelley became known worldwide for her book - Frankenstein, which has been adapted many times, into films, series, drawings and even comics. The story of the monster and its inventor is already well known, but do you know what were the circumstances that led Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein?
The story behind the horror tale is perhaps as unique and eccentric as the story that Mary Shelley wrote. The author started writing the story when she was only 18 years old, and the work was published in 1818. Many believe that the inspiration for writing such a dark piece of literature came from Shelley's own life, as she faced the death of her first two children, who died when they were still small, and the suicide of her half-sister. Her relationship with her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, also started out quite troubled, as the two met when Percy was already married when he was 21 (Mary was 16 at the time). The union of the two was not approved by Mary's father, and in the end the couple had to flee in order to be together.
It was in May 1816 that the couple decided to travel on vacation to Genoa, Switzerland, to spend the summer with some friends: the poet Lord Byron and the doctor John William Polidori. The friends' stay, however, was affected by a unique climatic event: The year 1816 became known as “the year without summer”, due to a series of climatic anomalies caused by the eruption of a volcano in Monte Tambora in Indonesia - the eruption was one of the largest in history, and caused the climate in Europe to change sharply.
During that unusual summer, Mary Shelley and her friends had to spend most of their time indoors, confined by the off-season cold and incessant rain. To keep themselves entertained, the group spent their nights reading tales of ghosts. On one of those nights Lord Byron suggested a challenge for everyone: each one would have to write a ghost story, and the group would decide which one was the best.
Inspired by the dismal climate and her tragic experiences, Mary Shelley was plagued by several nightmares during this period. It was from frightening dreams that Frankenstein's first sketch was born.
The tale was well received among her friends, and Shelley decided to turn the story into a book. In the year 1818 Frankenstein was published anonymously.
At first, many attributed the book to Percy Shelley, and all circumstances pointed to this: the anonymous publication, the genre and nature of the story, and the time when it was written suggested that Frankenstein had been written by a man. The work, however, was rightly credited to Mary.
The tragedies in the author's life did not stop after Frankenstein's birth; her husband Percy drowned in 1822, and Mary died at the age of 53, the victim of a brain tumour.
Despite having a life permeated with sadness, Mary Shelley found a way to channel her pains, and express a part of her experiences to the world through a work that remains relevant to this day. With Frankenstein, Shelley paved the way for an entirely new literary genre that continues to be inspired by the mad doctor and the monster often described as melancholy and misunderstood.
Did you already know the story of Mary Shelley? What is your favourite Frankenstein adaptation? Comment below!
Thank you for reading!
See you next time!
A história por trás do monstro de Frankenstein
Algumas semanas atrás decidi criar um clube de leitura direcionado a todas as pessoas que desejam praticar inglês de uma forma prazerosa. O clube de leitura nos permite também descobrir novas histórias e novos autores; nossa primeira experiência foi com uma das intrigantes histórias de Sherlock Holmes, do autor inglês Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, e no post de hoje iremos falar sobre outra autora britânica muito famosa: Mary Shelley.
Você certamente já deve ter ouvido falar dessa autora; conhecida como uma das pioneiras do gênero de horror e da ficção científica, Mary Shelley ficou mundialmente conhecida por sua obra Frankenstein, que já foi adaptada inúmeras vezes, resultando em filmes, séries, desenhos e até HQs. A história do monstro e seu inventor já é muito conhecida, mas você sabe quais foram as circunstâncias que levaram Mary Shelley a escrever Frankenstein?
A história por trás do conto de horror é talvez tão única e excêntrica quanto a própria história que Mary Shelley escreveu. A autora começou a escrever a história quando tinha apenas 18 anos, e a obra foi publicada em 1818. Muitos acreditam que a inspiração para escrever uma obra tão funesta tenha surgido da própria vida de Shelley, que enfrentou a morte de seus dois primeiros filhos, que morreram quando ainda eram pequenos, e o suicídio de sua meia-irmã. Seu relacionamento com seu marido, o poeta Percy Shelley também começou bastante conturbado, sendo que os dois se conheceram quando Percy já estava casado, com 21 anos (Mary tinha 16 na época). A união dos dois não era aprovada pelo pai de Mary, e por fim o casal teve de fugir para poderem ficar juntos.
Foi no mês de maio de 1816 que o casal decidiu viajar de férias para Gênova, na Suíça, para passarem o verão com alguns amigos: o poeta Lord Byron e o médico John William Polidori. A estadia dos amigos, porém foi acometida por um evento climático único: O ano de 1816 ficou conhecido como “o ano sem verão”, por causa de uma série de anomalias climáticas causadas pela erupção de um vulcão em Monte Tambora na Indonésia – a erupção foi uma das maiores da história, e fez com que o clima na Europa sofresse uma queda brusca.
Durante esse verão incomum, Mary Shelley e seus amigos tiveram de passar a maior parte do tempo dentro de casa, confinados pelo frio fora de época e a incessante