Books that Changed the World: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Disclaimer: Photo does not display actual monsters

The horror genre dates back to Dante’s Inferno in the Middle Ages. But the first modern horror novel, the one that has been copied for 200 years, was written on a dare over a weekend by a young wife who was surrounded by three famous authors.

In 1816, Mary Shelley went on a retreat with her author husband and two author friends. Without Netflix they had to come up with some way to entertain themselves. The challenge was, who would write the best scary story over two days?

Mrs. Shelley’s Frankenstein has chilled people ever since. It also created several writing archetypes, the reborn man, retribution when man pushes into the supernatural, the monster with humanity in his heart. You see these over and over in modern movies and books. The themes from either Frankenstein, Dracula, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, are present in almost every horror story we read or watch today.

Does horror have value? Well, it thrills, it entertains. The ancient Greeks believed that seeing a tragedy was cathartic, meaning it cleared out negative emotions. I propose that any form of examining the human condition through art has value.

And who doesn’t enjoy a good scare?

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