During the 1816 summer, Mary Godwin (not Shelley yet), her lover Percy Shelley (Mary’s soon-to-be husband), her stepsister Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron, and Byron’s travelling companion Dr. John Polidori rented Villa Diodati, a mansion located on the banks of Lake Geneva, in Switzerland. Mary and her friends enjoyed a six-week vacation during which they hosted fancy evening receptions.

Since rain was predominant during those six weeks, the vacationers had not choice but to stay indoor. One day, Byron proposed that they have a friendly competition to see who could compose the best horror story. At that time, Mary was only 18. Imagine how intimidating it must have been, considering that her rivals were already illustrious writers. Nevertheless, Shelley still participated and she came up with quite a story. Believe it or not, the contest gave birth to the idea of Frankenstein. Pretty amusing, right?

Christophe Caron


One thought on “It Began with a Contest

  1. Hi Christophe!

    This is a great post! I think it is important to know where the book comes from in order to understand the story better. We’re lucky Mary Shelley took part in this contest since it gave birth to a classic work of literature. I also love your overall blog.

    Keep up with the good work!



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