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Shelley image

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851)
Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus
London: Printed for Lackington, 1818
PML 16799
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The seed of Mary Shelley's masterpiece came to her in a dream of a young scientist patching together a new being from dead bodies. This copy preserves her autograph changes to the first edition, making the volume an important witness to her creative process. It is also a memorial to grief. After the drowning of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, in July 1822, Mary Shelley turned to everyone she could for sympathy, and gave this copy of Frankenstein to a woman now known only as Mrs. Thomas, who describes its writer as "helpless, Pennyless, and broken hearted."

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.