Mary Shelley had four children and buried three as infants. Her last son Percy survived her and died of old age. But Frankenstein, her ultimate creation, has lived on. Her literary science fictional monster child became a myth, an aspiration, an ambition and even somewhat a reality in the past 200 years.
Mary Shelley’s “less than human being” became a superhuman cultural talisman, a fictional monster of godlike immortality. It would probably shock and appal her to find her shocking and appalling invention so native and normalized in our epoch, and I doubt that her fame as a horror writer would appease and content her as a thinker, author, as a woman and a loving bereaving mother.
Not every corpse struck by a lightning becomes a Frankenstein, but a writer’s intuitive talent can become her shambling heritage whether she wants it, or knows it…
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