Contents Index

a young girl

Age is always relative. Mary Shelley was some two months shy of her twentieth birthday when she began writing Frankenstein and well past twenty-one when the novel appeared in print. Moreover, before she began the novel toward the end of June 1816, she had registered experiences highly unusual for a young woman in the constrained environment of Britain, including eloping with a married man and twice giving birth. That said, it is true that the author was in years yet an adolescent when she wrote this novel and that, historically speaking, most of its readers have been struck by a range of knowledge, maturity of conception, and intellectual ambition unusual in one so young.