`Invention ... does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos'
- Mary Shelley
In the 200 years since its first publication, the story of Frankenstein's creation during stormy days and nights at Byron's Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva has become literary legend. In this book, Daisy Hay returns to the objects and manuscripts of the novel's genesis in order to assemble its story anew.
Frankenstein was inspired by the extraordinary people surrounding the eighteen-year-old author and by the places and historical dramas that formed the backdrop of her youth. Featuring manuscripts, portraits, illustrations and artefacts, The Making of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein explores the novel's time and place, its people, the relics of its long afterlife and the notebooks in which it was created. Hay strips Frankenstein back to its constituent parts revealing an uneven novel written by a young woman deeply engaged in the process of working out what she thought about the pressing issues of her time: science, politics, religion, slavery, maternity, the imagination, creativity and community. This is a compelling and innovative biography of the novel for all those fascinated by its essential, brilliant chaos.