National Frankenstein Friday on the last Friday in October recognizes author Mary Shelly, the novel Frankenstein, her characters, Dr. Frankenstein and the monster. Dating back to the 1800s, Frankenstein’s monster is one of the best-known horror characters of all times.
August 30 is also known in some sources as Frankenstein Day. August 30 is author Mary Shelly’s birthday.
- Created by Mary Shelly at the age of 21, Frankenstein was first published in 1818.
- Frankenstein was made famous by Boris Karloff in the movie Frankenstein in 1931
- THE NOVEL CAME OUT OF A GHOST STORY COMPETITION. The Shelleys visited Switzerland during the “year without a summer.” The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia had caused severe climate abnormalities and a lot of rain. Stuck inside, the group read ghost stories from the book Fantasmagoriana. It was then that Lord Byron proposed that they have a competition to see who could come up with the best ghost story: Byron, Mary, Percy, or the physician John Polidori. In the end, of course, Mary won the contest. Neither Byron nor Percy finished a ghost story, although Polidori wrote The Vampyre, which later influenced Bram Stoker while writing Dracula.
- In the novel, Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to as “monster,” “creature,” “demon,” and “it.” But if you’ve made the mistake of calling the monster Frankenstein, you’re not alone. Everyone from The Reef novelist Edith Wharton to the writers of the movie Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein has done it.
- Mary said she made up the name “Frankenstein.” However, Frankenstein is a German name that means Stone of the Franks. What’s more, historian Radu Florescu claimed that the Shelleys visited Castle Frankenstein on a journey up the Rhine River. While there, they must have learned about an unbalanced alchemist named Konrad Dippel, who used to live in the castle. He was trying to create an elixir, called Dippel’s Oil, which would make people live for over a hundred years. Like Victor Frankenstein, Dippel was rumored to dig up graves and experiment on the bodies.
- FRANKENSTEIN WAS CONSIDERED THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL. Mary went on to write other science fiction, such as her 1826 short story Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman, about a man who has been frozen in ice, and her novel The Last Man, about a survivor in a world destroyed by plague, from the same year.
- Frankenstein has inspired more than 130 films, starting with the silent Frankenstein in 1910.
- The popular image of a simple brute with limited vocabulary is actually quite far removed from Shelley’s original concept.
- The very first film adaptation of Frankenstein was made by Thomas Edison… in the Bronx! You can watch it here.