Frankenstien Essay, Research Paper
THE event on which this fiction is founded has been supposed, by Dr. Darwin, and some of the physiological writers of
Germany, as not of impossible occurrence. I shall not be supposed as according the remotest degree of serious faith to such an
imagination; yet, in assuming it as the basis of a work of fancy, I have not considered myself as merely weaving a series of
supernatural terrors. The event on which the interest of the story depends is exempt from the disadvantages of a mere tale of
spectres or enchantment. It was recommended by the novelty of the situations which it develops; and, however impossible as a
physical fact, affords a point of view to the imagination for the delineating of human passions more comprehensive and
commanding than any which the ordinary relations of existing events can yield.
I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth of the elementary principles of human nature, while I have not scrupled to
innovate upon their combinations. The Iliad, the tragic poetry of Greece- Shakespeare, in the Tempest/and Midsummer Night’s
Dream- and most especially Milton, in Paradise Lost, conform to this rule; and the most humble novelist, who seeks to confer
or receive amusement from his labours, may, without presumption, apply to prose fiction a licence, or rather a rule, from the
adoption of which so many exquisite combinations of human feeling have resulted in the highest specimens of poetry.
The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested in casual conversation. It was commenced partly as a source of
amusement, and partly as an expedient for exercising any untried resources of mind. Other motives were mingled with these as
the work proceeded. I am by no means indifferent to the manner in which whatever moral tendencies exist in the sentiments or
characters it contains shall affect the reader; yet my chief concern in this respect has been limited to avoiding the enervating
effects of the novels of the present day and to the exhibition of the amiableness of domestic affection, and the excellence of
universal virtue. The opinions which naturally spring from the and situation of the hero are by no means to be conceived as
existing always in my own conviction; nor is any inference justly to be drawn from the following pages as prejudicing any
philosophical doctrine of whatever kind.
It is a subject also of additional interest to the author that this story was begun in the majestic region where the scene is
principally laid, and in society which cannot cease to be regretted. I passed the summer of 1816 in the environs of Geneva. The
season was cold and rainy, and in the evenings we crowded around a blazing wood fire, and occasionally amused ourselves
with some German stories of ghosts, which happened to fall into our hands. These tales excited in us a playful desire of
imitation. Two other friends (a tale from the pen of one of whom would be far more acceptable to the public than anything I can
ever hope to produce) and myself agreed to write each a story founded on some supernatural occurrence.
The weather, however, suddenly became serene; and my two friends left me on a journey among the Alps, and lost, in the
magnificent scenes which they present, all memory of their ghostly visions. The following tale is the only one which has been
Marlow, September, 1817