villa diodati

from frankenstein, mary shelley, lord byron posted in literature


villa diodati
chemin de ruth and chemin byron
cologny, switzerland 1223

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posted by crabapple #

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In May of 1816, Mary Goodwin, Percy Shelley (a radical poet-philosopher) and their son traveled with Claire Clairmont to Geneva, Switzerland. Their plan was to spend the summer with Lord Byron, another poet whom Clairmont was having an affair with, on Lake Geneva.

Lord Byron rented the villa, and the group spent time writing, boating on the lake, and talking late into the night.

It was a wet summer, and the group found themselves reading from a book of German ghost stories one evening. They had heard of Erasmus Darwin's experiments, and that he had animated dead matter, and the conversation drifted towards galvinism and assembling a reanimated corpse from body parts. Lord Byron challenged them to write their own horror stories.

Mary Goodwin (who had introduced herself as Mrs. Shelley at the Villa) began work on Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus which was first published in 1818.

Villa Diodati, photo: Robertgrassi