Mary Shelley - Decoding the Past TV - Robert Winston TV - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1994 - Danny Boyle - Peter Ackroyd - Science Britannica TV - Young Frankenstein 1974 - Victor Frankenstein 2015 - In Search of History TV - Andrew Graham-Dixon TV -
‘We will each write a ghost story,’ said Lord Byron; and his proposition was acceded to. There were four of us ... Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative ... On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story ... At first I thought but a few pages – of a short tale; but Shelley urged me to develop the idea at greater length. Mary Shelley, introduction to Frankenstein
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. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. ibid.
You seek for knowledge and wisdom as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. ibid. Letter 4
It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn. ibid. ch4
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. ibid. chapter 4 p38
I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created. ibid. ch5
All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. ibid.
Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. ibid.
When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, then, a monster, a blot upon the earth from which all men fled and whom all men disowned? ibid. ch13 p105
I am alone and miserable: man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create. ibid. ch16 p129
Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition. ibid. ch24 p200
It is perhaps the most horrific monster ever imagined. A gruesome body sewn together from freshly dug up corpses given new life through the power of electricity. The scientist Victor Frankenstein and his terrifying monster were characters created by Mary Shelley in her famous nineteenth century novel. Yet there are real life stories that are just as macabre. Decoding the Past s2e34: The Real Dr Frankenstein, History 2006
Frankenstein: one of the darkest tales ever told was born in a nightmare. From a nineteen-year-old girl whose life was full of demons came a monster who terrorised generations to come. Mary Shelley began Frankenstein in Switzerland at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Robert Winston, Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster, BBC 2003
People believed that electricity and magnetism could bring the dead back to life. As a child Mary had heard of experiments to reanimate hanged convicts. ibid.
Mary Shelley’s intellectual gene pool was a rich one; both her parents were revolutionary thinkers. Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft the founder of feminism. Mary Wollstonecraft was a unique woman. Beautiful. Fierce. Independent ... Her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is still taught in colleges today. ibid.
Percy Bysshe Shelley: he was the bad boy of Oxford University. For some time he had been writing long letters to [William] Godwin. ibid.
Mary was Percy’s soul mate. ibid.
Common sense got to Shelley before the bullet did. But he was distraught. Later that night he took an overdose of Laudanum. His two suicide attempts had failed. ibid.
Mary Shelley’s hero – Victor Frankenstein – was a doctor seeking the ultimate truth about life. ibid.
This gruesome trade in dead bodies inspired Mary. ibid.
The summer of 1816 when Lord Byron entertained his friends on the shores of Lake Geneva. They called it the Summer of Darkness. ibid.
Mary took the ghost story challenge seriously. ibid.
A few days after the ghost story challenge Mary was to have her famous dream. ibid.
Mary and Percy’s lives were becoming a soap opera of births, marriages and deaths, often involving Byron. ibid.
It is as if the monster is crying out for Shelley. ibid.
I busied myself to think of a story which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature. And awaken thrilling horror. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 1994 starring Robert deNiro & Kenneth Branagh & Helena Bonham Carter & Ian Holm & Rory Jennings & Tom Hulce & John Cleese & Aidan Quinn & Richard Briers & Robert Hardy & Christina Cutall & Celia Imrie & Cherie Lunghi & Charles Wyn-Davies & Richard Bonneville et al, director Kenneth Branagh
The dawn of the nineteenth century ... Among the pioneers, Captain Robert Walton, an explorer, obsessed with reaching the north pole. As the prize drew closer his voyage would uncover a story to strike terror in the hearts of all who would venture into the unknown. ibid. caption
We can change things. We can make things better. ibid. Victor to Professor
Sooner or later the best way to cheat death will be to create life. ibid. Victor to friend & Professor
I abandoned my other research many years ago. Because the result is an abomination. ibid.
You’re evil. You’re the one who’re meant to die. ibid. man on scaffold to crowd
What has happened to you? How can you live like this? ibid. Elizabeth to Victor
It’s alive! It’s alive! ibid. Victor in lab
Evil stitched to evil stitched to evil. ibid. senior professor
Because I am so very ugly. And they are so very beautiful. ibid. Monster to old man
You gave me these emotions. But you didn’t tell me how to use them. Now two people are dead. ibid.
What of my soul. Do I have one? ibid.
Did you ever consider the consequence of your actions? You gave me life then left me to die. Who am I? ibid.
There is something I want. A friend. Companion. A female. Someone like me. So she won’t hate me. ibid.
If you deny me my wedding night, I will be with you on yours. ibid.
I am done with man. ibid.
Frankenstein, made infamous by the classic Boris Karloff films of the 1930s, was written by a 19 year old girl nearly 200 years ago. Frankenstein: A Modern Myth, Channel 4 2013
Mary Shelley raised larger questions about our own origins and mankind’s place in the universe. ibid.
Mary and her married lover, Percy Shelley, were a scandalous couple. ibid.
‘Every creature has a mate’. ibid. Monster
It endures because we want to know who made us. Danny Boyle
I exulted in storms. Nothing entranced me more than the roaring of the wind among the upright masses of rock, the crags and caverns of my native region; when the wind swept away the smoking mists, the woods of pine and oak were filled with its music. The clouds there seemed to haunt the upper air, wishing to touch the source of such beauty. In these moments my individual nature ebbed away. I felt as if I were dissolved into the surrounding universe, or as if that universe were absorbed into my being. Like the infant in the womb I was conscious of no distinction. It is the state that the poets wish to achieve, when all the manifestations of the world become ‘blossoms upon one tree’. Yet I had been blessed by the poetry of nature itself. Peter Ackroyd, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein