Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another plug for The Writer's Almanac

Besides interesting poetry, there are fun little snippets from history about those who have contributed to the written word.  I never knew the book below was written by a woman.  To check our or subscribe to The Writer's Almanac, click here.

It was on this day in 1818 that Mary Shelley published her gothic horror novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. In 1816, 19-year-old Mary and her lover Percy Shelley were staying with Lord Byron in Switzerland. It rained a lot, and they were stuck in the house. They read ghost stories, and Lord Byron got the idea that they should each write a ghost story themselves. Byron and Percy Shelley gave up quickly, but Mary spent many days trying to think of a story. One night the two men had a conversation about the spontaneous generation of life and the possibility of re-animating a corpse. Mary went to bed, but she couldn't sleep, and she had a vision: "I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion." And she went to work writing. Two years later, on this day in 1818, Frankenstein was published in London, and it became an instant best-seller. Mary Shelley was 21 years old.