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Everything you need to know to read "Frankenstein" - Iseult Gillespie


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In 1815, Lord Byron proposed a challenge to a few literary guests he had gathered in his house on Lake Geneva: Who could write the most chilling ghost story? This question sparked an idea in eighteen-year-old Mary Shelley who, over the next few months, crafted the story of “Frankenstein.” Iseult Gillespie shares everything you need to know to read Mary Shelley’s classic novel.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

In the eighteenth century, a young pregnant girl who had recently eloped with an older married man sat down to write one of the greatest literary masterpieces. Smart, daring and dogged by tragedy, Mary Shelley is a fascinating figure (particularly in an era dominated by men). Learn more about the author at “Mary Shelley Lived a Life as Dark as her Books.”
To learn more about Mary’s subversive genealogy check out this article on her mother, the “mother of feminism”

In Frankenstein, different strands of thought about art, myth science and family are woven together. And it all started with the bang of a volcano! To learn more about the “Year without a Summer,” watch the TED-Ed lesson on Mount Tambora: The colossal consequences of supervolcanoes. To learn more about the Romantics and their pursuit of the sublime, visit this site for a timeline and definitions. If you’re intrigued by the critical reading of Frankenstein as a “birth myth”, you can read Ellen Moer’s article on the “Female Gothic.”

In an eerie real-life parallel to her masterpiece, Mary was born during a thunderstorm (in the book, the monster is electrocuted to life). At the time of her writing, the concept of Galvanism would have been well-known. Galvanism studies the electrical patterns in the body, and its founder Luigi Galvani embarked on many experiments that electrified animals in order to reanimate them. This bears marked resemblance to Dr. Frankenstein’s reanimation of dead matter, and indicates Shelley’s engagement with popular scientific theories in her creation of what is now considered one of the first works of science fiction. Read more about her relationship to science here, and here.

How many forms do we see Frankenstein’s monster crop up in adaptation and popular culture? Some of the most interesting examples are discussed in this article.

You can check out more work from the sound design team here.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Silvia Prietov
  • Animator Silvia Prietov, William Cifuentes
  • Producer Silvia Prietov
  • Art Director Silvia Prietov
  • Storyboard Artist Silvia Prietov
  • Designer Andrés Felipe Landazábal
  • Character Designer Andrés Felipe Landazábal
  • Layout Artist Andrés Felipe Landazábal
  • Compositor Julian Andrés Sánchez
  • Sound Designer Andrés Silva, Alejandro Uribe-Holgin
  • Composer Manuel José Gordillo
  • Associate Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman

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