When I was in High School (yeah, I’m surprised I can remember back that far too!) we had a wonderful Advanced English teacher who allowed us to do one term on Horror books – the classics. We read Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and, of course, Frankenstein. (We also watched Hitchcock films and were allowed to choose a modern horror book of our choice for independent study.) Despite dissecting and reassembling these books ad nausium I did not learn as much about Mary Shelley and her monster as I did from reading this book. English teachers, as awesome as some of them might be, could learn a lesson here and occasionally take a few steps outside the actual book.
THE LADY AND HER MONSTERS – a Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr, Frankensteins and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo
From the frog experiments of Luigi Galvani in the mid-1700’s through to Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” man has always been fascinated with reanimation of the departed. Ms. Montillo does not spare those readers of a more delicate constitution from the realities of these experiments. Gruesome as they were it is important to understand how Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley might have come about some of her knowledge about these experiments in a time when well mannered women were kept in the dark about science.
Not only does this book offer an explanation of how Mary Shelley may have come up with Frankenstein’s monster but also serves as a comprehensive biography of Shelley and her family, as well as several of the prominent people in her life; Byron, or course and Percy Shelley are among others both well known and not. As far as the truth behind the stories and myths surrounding the writing of the book itself … ‘twas indeed a dark and stormy night.
Ghoulish as it makes me sound, I was also quite fascinated about the goings on of the “body snatchers”.
Packed full of obviously well researched information and written in an easily readable style I definitely have to give five stars to this fascinating read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book jacket)
Roseanne Montillo is the author of The Lady and Her Monsters. She holds an MFA from Emerson College, where she continues to teach as a professor of literature. Roseanne lives in Boston.