Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in Switzerland and in London in 1817 and 1818 and many elements of the novel are linked with this time-period.


The years surrounding Shelley’s publication were highly productive in terms of scientific discoveries and experiments. This primarily entails the development of the stethoscope, the locomotive, and the steamboat. Additionally, discoveries concerning medicine, science, and astronomy also influenced Shelley in her writings. The aforementioned discoveries and researches were highly supported and gave a sense of glory, similarly to what Frankenstein desired to achieve through the experiments conducted on the human body. At that time, people were astonished by the abundance in scientific breakthroughs, thus the creation of a monster, like the creature presented in the novel, certainly affected them greatly as anything seemed possible. Furthermore, Robert Walton’s expedition to the North is another example concerning the hunger for exploration commonly observed during this time period.


Also, during the 19th century, Darwin began presenting his ‘’theory of the evolution’’ and religion was becoming less popular. Arguably, Frankenstein’s creature follows this line of thought as it was created scientifically and not by God.


To top it off, the political division of Europe was slightly different during this time period, resulting in the continent often being unsettled by wars. Other elements like capital punishment, such as the death of Justine Moritz, the family relations, and the means of transportation were also obviously quite different from today’s.  


Rosabel Désaulniers


Work used:


4 thoughts on “Historical Context of Frankenstein

  1. Great insight! Very interesting to read the historical context and the time period that the author wrote her novel in. You mention that the author lived in a period where the theory on evolution was becoming more popular compared to religion, do you believe that this novel was to support this movement? Great post! (Anna)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure if Mary Shelly directly wanted to show her support to people taking part of this movement, but she certainly somewhat shared their views, even if her work is only fiction. Thank you Anna!


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