By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Why this book?
There are not many gothic novels written by women—this one is the exception. While summering in Geneva with her lover and the writers Lord Byron and John William Polidori, stormy weather kept them inside with a book of ghost stories, which inspired them to write their own. “I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out,” Shelley recounted, “and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” She won the contest with one of the most haunting novels in existence.
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