The daughter of an active feminist, Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley eloped with the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at the age of 15, and after was continually and profoundly influenced by his words and writings. Her novel Frankenstein is named among the best written and most meaningful of the gothic works, and is one of the few still popularly read today. A precursor to the Romantic trend in art and intellect, gothic novels rejected of the precepts of order, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular. The gothic tradition grew out of disillusionment with the Enlightenment and 18th-century rationalism and physical materialism.…show more content… Mary Shelley took fragments of histories and a legend surrounding the castle Frankenstein (which she may or may not have visited) she had heard and developed them into her novel. The castle was once inhabited by a doctor Conrad Dipple, an alchemist who claimed to have the elixir of life, and was known for graverobbing and signing his name "Frankenstiena." She came across this information while vacationing with her husband and Lord Byron in Geneva in the summer of 1816. Mary writes in notes for an edition of her late husband's poetry that they read that summer the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Faery Queene, Montaigne's Essays, and Aeschylus' Prometheus, among numerous others (The Complete Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley 575). One evening the three, along with Dr. John Polidori and Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, were trapped in Byron's castle as a storm raged outside. For a change from reading Coleridge's vampiric poem "Christabel," Byron suggested a ghost story competition. Out of this competition came Polidori's "The Vampyre," Byron's "Manfred," and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the idea for which came to her in a nightmare.
The setting under which the story was devised was perfect for the story itself; Frankenstein takes place in the Swiss Alps and in