Contents Index

Dr. Polidori and the Genesis of Frankenstein

James Rieger

Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 3 (Winter 1963), 461-72

The received history of the contest in writing ghost-stories at Villa Diodati during the "wet, ungenial" June of 1816 is well known to every student of the Byron-Shelley circle.1 It is, as we shall see, an almost total fabrication.


On 20 October 1820, Hester Thrale Piozzi wrote from Bath to Frances Burney D'Arblay, "How changed is the taste of verse, prose, and painting since le bon vieux temps, dear Madam! Nothing attracts us but what terrifies, and is within -- if within -- a hair's-breadth of positive disgust. . . . some of the strange things they write remind me of Squoire Richard's visit to the Tower Menagerie, when he says 'They are pure grim devils,' -- particularly a wild and hideous tale called Frankenstein."2

Never, it has been thought, since Donne, Jonson, and every other wit in London composed commendatory verses to Coryats Crudities, has so much talent joined in a common project to so little purpose. Yet Mrs. Piozzi, who had become rather derrière-garde since her Streatham days, need not have worried. The heyday of the Schauerroman was done, as the contestants themselves seem to have realized. Shelley's and "Claire" Clairmont's stories have vanished without a trace, and Byron abandoned his after a few pages. Frankenstein (1818) contains no supernature, and in the one other Diodati story published with the author's full will, Polidori's Ernestus Berchtold (1819), a ghost and a djinn make only brief, embarrassed, peripheral appearances.

Byron's vampire-story was published as "A Fragment" with Mazeppa in 1819, but only in self-defense.3 "Poor Polidori" had been foolish enough to leave the manuscript of his The Vampyre {462} with the Countess of Breuss, who, by previously challenging his ability to complete Byron's story, had ensured his doing so. She then gave it to another person, presumably the mysterious Mme. Gatelier, who forwarded it to Henry Colburn. He in turn printed the tale under Byron's name in The New Monthly Magazine for April of 1819. Polidori's immediate protest that the work was his own touched off a dog-fight which, even by the standards of the Regency publishing world, was exceptionally savage. From a free-for-all involving Colburn, his editor (who promptly resigned), John Murray, Messrs. Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, and Byron himself, only Polidori emerged with his reputation very much the worse for wear. Although he was the one person who had acted both honorably and in full possession of the facts, the doctor was a born bungler and remains to this day, unfairly branded a pirate, parasite, and liar.4 The triumphant word was Byron's, in his disclaimer written to the editor of Galignani's Magazine: "If the book is clever, it would be base to deprive the real writer, whoever he may be, of his honours; and if stupid, I desire the responsibility of nobody's dullness but my own. . . . I have besides a personal dislike to 'Vampires,' and the little acquaintance I have with them would by no means induce me to divulge their secrets."5

Byron's vampire, Augustus Darvell, is another in the long file of criminal wanderers who fly, harried by the spectre of sadistic love, through the proud, bad verses of the so-called "Oriental Tales." In June 1816 Byron was writing the psychosexual picaresque out of his system in what is probably his masterpiece of non-humorous verse, the Third Canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. This poem was completed ten days after he made his abortive start on "A Fragment." He was, moreover, growing weary of narrative verse and about to turn mainly to drama and satire. Gothic prose must have seemed a stale departure. "A Fragment" ends with Darvell's "undeath" in a Muslim graveyard from a strange inner corruption. He rots before our very eyes. Byron gives him up as a sorry spectacle indeed, and the reader is likewise content to leave him lying there in the moonlight, like John Randolph's mackerel, to shine and stink.

{463} Polidori's novel on the same subject is a far from contemptible piece of work, though it is not read today. A sensationally popular stage version was produced in Paris on 13 June 1820;6 J. R. Planché's "free translation" of this piece was written, rehearsed, and rushed onto the stage of the English Opera House by 9 August.7 That the success of this play was not matched until the debut of Richard Brinsley Peake's Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein at the same theater in 1823, is surely one of literary history's smaller ironies. Both melodramas were at last pitchforked into oblivion by a work of near-genius -- Der Freischütz.8

Lord Ruthven, Polidori's version of Augustus Darvell, is done to seeming death by the comparatively clean means of a bandit's bullet. The change is symptomatic, for the doctor orders us out of the miasmic closeness of Byron's atmosphere into the tonic air of a deliberately misleading realism. He is sometimes even witty, as when he describes Aubrey's education: "Left also to himself by guardians, who thought it their duty merely to take care of his fortune, while they relinquished the more important charge of his mind to the care of mercenary subalterns, he cultivated more his imagination than his judgment. He had, hence, that high romantic feeling of honour and candour, which daily ruins so many milliners' apprentices."9 The sanity and gentility of Polidori's narrative pose enforce by contrast the irruptive shock of the unthinkable.

Although Lord Byron's public personality was more a product of the early Gothic romance than a direct influence upon later examples of the genre, his portrait in Lord Ruthven is unmistakable. So also is that of the vampire's naive companion: "allowing his imagination to picture every thing that flattered its propensity to extravagant ideas, he soon formed this object into the hero of a romance, and determined to observe the off-spring of his fancy, rather than the person before him."10 Aubrey's final recognition of Ruthven as he really is does not prevent a catastrophe as dreadful as that which struck down his Byronomane creator.

{464} His Lordship is a leech. But just as no man is a poet, much less a matinee idol, to his physician, so no master credits his valet with a soul. Polidori to Byron was "exactly the kind of person to whom, if he fell overboard, one would hold out a straw to know if the adage be true that drowning men catch at straws."11 Polidori came from a distinguished literary family (his father had been Alfieri's secretary) and was the uncle of Dante Gabriel, William Michael, and Christina Rossetti. Young, classically handsome, and possessed of a gift for writing which surprises every modern reader who has taken the judgments of the Shelley circle at face value,12 he was fatally conceited. His vanity and sensitivity to every imagined slight, his "eternal nonsense, and tracasseries,13 make Goldsmith look in the comparison like Patient Grissil. Nonetheless, when he drank prussic acid at the age of twenty-five,14 England lost a religious novelist who, had he fulfilled the promise of Ernestus Berchtold, might now hold a place in the nineteenth-century hierarchy slightly above Charlotte Brontë. Like Keats, whose dates (1795-1821) he shares, he composed his own epitaph. He found it in the plea of his mythical ancestor to another wanderer and former comrade and placed it, slightly altered, on the title page of Ximenes: "Parce pias scelerare manus: non me tibi Troia Externum tulit . . . Quod Polydorus ego."15


In her 1831 "Introduction" Mary Shelley claimed that the story independently begun by Polidori at Villa Diodati was "some terrible idea about a skull-headed lady, who was so punished for peeping through a keyhole -- what to see I forget -- something very shocking and wrong of course; but when she {465} was reduced to a worse condition than the renowned Tom of Coventry, he did not know, what to do with her, and was obliged to despatch her to the tomb of the Capulets, the only place for which she was fitted" (p. 9).16

When Mary Shelley admits to forgetting particulars, we may usually assume that she remembers nothing. No statement in her account of the writing party at Diodati, or even of the inception of her own idea, can be trusted, as we shall now see. For example, she recalls that, "Some volumes of ghost stories, translated from the German into French, fell into our hands. There was the History of the Inconstant Lover, who, when he thought to clasp the bride to whom he had pledged his vows, found himself in the arms of the pale ghost of her whom he had deserted" (p. 9). These two volumes were the work of Jean Baptiste Benoît Eyriès (1767-1846), who published them anonymously as Fantasmagoriana, ou Recueil d'Histoires d'Apparitions de Spectres, Revenans, Fantômes, etc.; traduit de l'allemand, par un Amateur (Paris, 1812). Mary Shelley's "History of the Inconstant Lover" is actually called "La Morte Fiancée," and the ghost who takes Libussa's place in Count Marino's bed on their wedding night is not that of the jilted Apollonia, but of a lady deserted some two or three centuries earlier. Mrs. Shelley continues:

There was the tale of the sinful founder of his race, whose miserable doom it was to bestow the kiss of death on all the younger sons of his fated house, just when they reached the age of promise. His gigantic, shadowy form, clothed like the ghost in Hamlet, in complete armour, but with the beaver up, was seen at midnight, by the moon's fitful beams, to advance slowly along the gloomy avenue. The shape was {466} lost beneath the shadow of the castle walls; but soon a gate swung back, a step was heard, the door of the chamber opened, and he advanced to the couch of the blooming youths, cradled in healthy sleep. Eternal sorrow sat upon his face as he bent down and kissed the forehead of the boys, whom from that hour withered like flowers snapt upon the stalk. I have not seen those stories since then; but their incidents are as fresh in my mind as if I had read them yesterday. (p. 9)17
"Les Portraits de Famille" is the story here recalled in an altered form. Eyriès's ghost wears "un manteau gris," but no armor; his journey from the garden to the children's bedside is silent and invisible. None of this would be of the slightest importance, were it not that Mary Shelley insists so positively upon the accuracy of her memory. If Italian noblemen have sexual intercourse with the wrong ghosts, and Hamlet's father does not stamp along corridors "with the beaver up," what credit can there be for the skull-headed lady? Polidori's own word, introductory to Ernestus Berchtold, is preferable: "The tale here presented to the public is the one I began at Coligny [sic], when Frankenstein was planned, and when a noble author having determined to descend from his lofty range, gave up a few hours to a tale of terror, and wrote the fragment published at the end of Mazeppa."18

The failure of every commentator (to the best of my knowledge) to cast serious doubt upon the accuracy of Mary Shelley's "Introduction" is probably owing to the extreme rarity of the Fantasmagoriana,19 described by the only scholar who claims to have read it as "a poor sort of book."20 The discovery of the faultiness of Mrs. Shelley's recollections in this regard prompts a further examination of her account of the original conception of Frankenstein. The entire story quickly falls to the ground.

Mrs. Shelley records the sequence of events as follows: (1) the party read the Fantasmagoriana during some wet weather; (2) "'We will each write a ghost story,' said Lord Byron; and his proposition was acceded to. There were four of us" [Introduction 6]; (3) "I busied myself to think of a story -- a story to rival those which {467} had excited us to this task. . . . Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative" [Introduction 7]; and finally,

Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated. . . . Night waned upon this talk, and even the witching hour had gone by, before we retired to rest. When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw -- with shut eyes, but acute mental vision -- I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. (pp. 10-11)
Polidori's Diary records for 17 June 1816, "The ghost-stories are begun by all but me."21 16 June is the probable date of Byron's suggestion,22 for several reasons. First, enthusiasm for the project waned quickly, so we may assume that it was formed no more than a week earlier. 14 June was the first time since the tenth that the entire party (there were, of course, five of them) had been together at Diodati. But the weather was dry, for Polidori "rode almost all day," and Mary Shelley says that the Fantasmagoriana was read to pass the time while "incessant rain . . . confined us for days to the house" (p. 9). It showered on 15 June, and Polidori sprained his ankle on the wet grass after leaping over a wall; after-dinner conversation, however, involved a play Polidori had written and then a scientific discussion with Shelley. On the sixteenth the rain must have begun in earnest, for Polidori records that Shelley "slept here, with Mrs. S. and Miss Clare Clairmont." They would not all have done so (Claire, of course, might) except for really nasty weather, as their own house, the Campagne Chapuis, was but an eight-minute walk from Villa Diodati.

{468} The discussion between Shelley and Polidori on the fifteenth is noted down by the latter as "a conversation about principles, -- whether man was to be thought merely an instrument." This is almost certainly the conversation alluded to by Mary Shelley and quoted above, regarding "the nature of the principle of life."23 Mrs. Shelley remembered Byron as her husband's partner in this discussion, but will that bear even superficial examination? Shelley was an accomplished amateur chemist, and Polidori not only a physician, but a first-rate one and fresh out of Edinburgh.24 He is far more likely than his noble employer to have involved himself, not to say held up his own end, in the following conversation:

They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin . . . who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth. (pp. 10-11)
The conclusive piece of evidence is that Polidori had the year before published a dissertation on somnambulism misleadingly entitled De Oneirodynia.25 Sleep-walking was then {469} a topic embraced with what we now call hypnotism under the general heading of "animal magnetism."26 As a pseudo-science it is forever associated with the name of Friedrich (or Franz) Anton Mesmer, who died in the year that Polidori received his degree. On the respectable side this enquiry into the nature of a subtle, universal fluid became the researches into galvanism and electricity of Sir Humphry Davy, whose Elements of Chemical Philosophy (1812)27 Mary Shelley got around to reading in October, while composing what is probably now Chapter 2 of Frankenstein. It is also closely related to Erasmus Darwin's experiments in medicine, botany, and electrochemical tropism. Finally, of course, animal magnetism is linked with the name of Benjamin Franklin, who headed the French royal commission which in 1784 exploded Mesmer's theories. His experiment with the kite and key is reproduced by Victor Frankenstein's father in Chapter 1 of the 1818 edition of that novel.

Polidori was perforce an expert. When on the evening of 15 June "all agreed" that his play (either Cajetan or Boadicea) "was worth nothing,"28 he made a typically desperate attempt to soothe his injured vanity by dragging the conversation around to his most recent undoubted success.29

If we can accept Mary Shelley's word that this was the same night in which she had her waking dream of the scientist's filthy creation standing "at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes" (p. 11), then the entire chronology of conception is altered.30 The nucleus of the story was already fully developed in her mind when on the following evening the party read two of the eight stories in the Fantasmagoriana and Byron made his suggestion. The next morning she was at her desk with the others.

Most scholars have heretofore assumed either that Mary {470} Shelley started a different story, later dropped, on 17 June,31 or that she invented her "modern Prometheus" and his profane Adam after "the abortive tales [of] the others in the house party had already [been] begun and abandoned."32 The difficulty has always been that Mary Shelley's journal is missing for the all-important period from 14 May 1815, to 20 July 1816. In fairness to the lady, we may assume that she lost it before 1831.


The importance of all this is that it shifts critical emphasis with regard to Frankenstein, enabling us for the first time to see this novel totally divorced from and unembarrassed by the Gothic tradition, some of whose ancillary characteristics it none the less preserves. The Fantasmagoriana could not in any case have been much of a source, for, excepting Calzolaro's unfulfilled promise (in "La Tête de Mort") to afford his audience "quelques momens agréables avec des expériences d'électricité et de magnétisme" (I. 242), not one concession is made to contemporary psychology and physical science, or to the aesthetic truth of any age. Frankenstein may be vulgarly termed science fiction, but more properly Mary Shelley wished to write an anti-humanist morality quite exempt, as Shelley put it in the 1818 "Preface," "from the disadvantages of a mere tale of spectres or enchantment." Factitious science, "however impossible as a physical fact," was to afford "a point of view to the imagination for the delineating of human passions more comprehensive and commanding than any which the ordinary relations of existing events can yield" (p. 5).33

This embarrassment with the outdated "shudder-novel" was shared by Polidori and, probably, was the major cause of the other contestants' rapid loss of interest in their own tales. The doctor candidly admitted in his "Introduction" to Ernestus Berchtold that, "A tale that rests upon improbabilities, must generally disgust a rational mind; I am therefore afraid that, though I have thrown the superior agency into the back ground as much as was in my power, still, that many readers will think the same moral, and the same colouring, might have been given to characters acting under the ordinary agencies of life; {471} I believe it, but had agreed to write a supernatural tale, and that does not allow of a completely every-day narrative" (pp. vii-viii).

Polidori makes amends for the condition unhappily agreed to by an understatement of narrative and a clinical accuracy of natural description seldom encountered (to say the least) in the contemporary novel. He numbers the streaks of the tulip with the eye of a trained botanist. His landscapes are those of a naturalist's pencil sketch, not of a Salvator Rosa canvas. By contrast, Mary Shelley's "sublime" diction in, say, the key Mont Blanc passage, protests too much and spoils the effect by forcing it. You can lead a reader to the Arve glacier, but you can't make him look. The only stylistic faults of Ernestus Berchtold (which certainly deserves a modern edition) are technical. Polidori's sentences often either lack a main verb or else pile up one coordinate clause on another and run on and on for pages.

Polidori thought of himself primarily as a religious poet, though his best work is a novel whose subtitle, "the Modern Oedipus," imitates "the Modern Prometheus." Mary Shelley too tried to give the novel mythic dimensions. "Supremely frightful," she said of her Promethean scientist, "would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious handi-work, horror-stricken" (p. 11). Four years later she attempted two verse plays, Proserpine and Midas. When in 1819 Leigh Hunt told her that, "Polyphemus . . . always appears to me a pathetic rather than a monstrous person, though his disappointed sympathies at last made him cruel," she answered, "I have written a book in defense of Polypheme have I not?"34

Mary Shelley had at this time a sneaking fondness for Polidori, whom the others so despised. Both of them felt out of place in the company of two geniuses and an overgrown nymphet: ". . . since incapacity and timidity always prevented my mingling in the nightly conversations of Diodati, they were, as it were, entirely têté-à-tête between my Shelley and Albé."35

Whereas the doctor reacted to the inequality of the situation with bumptious violence, Mary Shelley wrote a story for which, she insisted, "I certainly did not owe the suggestion of one incident, nor scarcely of one train of feeling, to my husband . . ." (p. 12). On the eighteenth of June she called Polidori "her brother (younger),"36 which is surely the kindest word anyone had thrown his way for days. Mrs. Shelley was pleased with the queer man who had given her the vital spark for her story.37 But it is not for this reason that she would have resented the later, metaphorically ironic remark that "Frankenstein was written when her brain, magnetized by [Shelley's] companionship, was capable of an effort never to be repeated."38


1. Mary Shelley, "Introduction" to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus in Colburn and Bentley's Standard Novels series; John William Polidori, The Vampyre; a Tale (London, Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1819), "Extract of a Letter from Geneva." This letter is certainly not by Polidori himself. W. M. Rossetti may be correct in ascribing it to Mme. Gatelier (The Diary of Dr. John William Polidori, ed. W. M. Rossetti [London, 1911]), "Introduction," p. 13).

2. Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (London, 1905), VI, 388-389.

3. "A Fragment" is now most readily accessible in The Works of Lord Byron, Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero, III (London, 1899), Appendix IX, 446.

4. The full story is contained in Rossetti's "Introduction" and incidental notes to the Diary.

5. Letters and Journals, IV, 288.

6. [Pierre François Adolphe Carmouche, Charles Nodier, Achille Jouffroy] Le Vampire; mélodrame en trois actes, avec un prologue, par MM*** (Paris, 1820).

7. The Vampire; or, the Bride of the Isles: a romantic melodrama in two acts (London, 1820).

8. See Elizabeth Nitchie, Mary Shelley (New Brunswick, N.J., 1953), Appendix W, "The Stage History of Frankenstein," pp. 218-231. Reprinted from the South Atlantic Quarterly, XLI (October, 1942), 384-398.

9. The Vampyre, pp. 29-30.

10. The Vampyre, pp. 31-32.

11. Thomas Moore, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: with Notices of His Life (London, 1830), II, 29. 29. Quoted by Leslie Marchand, Byron: a Biography (New York, 1957), II, 626.

12. We must except his thoroughly incompetent verse: Ximenes, the Wreath, and Other Poems (London, 1819); The Fall of the Angels, a Sacred Poem (London, 1821). The latter employs a peculiar ten-line stanza (ababccdede), but is otherwise pseudo-Miltonic throughout.

13. Letters and Journals, IV, 140. Quoted by Marchand.

14. According to Rossetti (p. 4), it was "perfectly well known in his family" that Polidori had committed suicide and that "the easy-going and good-naturedly disposed coroner's jury" had connived in hushing up the fact. This question has recently been re-opened by Henry R. Viets, M.D., Curator of the Boston Medical Library and author of a forthcoming biography of Polidori, in his article, "'By the Visitation of God:' the Death of John William Polidori, M.D., in 1821" British Medical Journal, II (30 December 1961), 1773-1775. Dr. Viets here attempts to discredit the Polidori-Rossetti family tradition, but I find his argument unconvincing. It stands or falls with Dr. Viets's assumption that it took "a half-hour, perhaps longer," for the Polidoris' maid to fetch and return with, "on the run," a physician who lived "only two streets away."

15. Aen. III. 42-43, 45. The final hemistich should read "Nam Polydorus ego."

16. Page references are to the Doubleday Dolphin edition of Frankenstein (Garden City N.Y., ca. 1960). The text is that of the revised, improved, Bentley's Standard Novels edition of 1831, and includes both Mary Shelley's "Introduction" to that and Shelley's unsigned "Preface" to the first edition (1818). This is a paperback, but far more trustworthy than the Everyman edition. The editors of the Dolphin series are noted in general for their scrupulous adherence to basic texts.

17. Italics mine.

18. Ernest Berchtold; or, the Modern Oedipus. A Tale (London, 1819), "Introduction," p. v.

19. The Union Catalogue of the Harvard University Library lists only one American copy, in the Library of Congress.

20. Rosetti, p. 126.

21. This entry is confirmed by Byron's placement of the date, 17 June 1816, at the top of "A Fragment." Some doubt might be cast upon the accuracy of the printed Diary from Rosetti's having used a transcript made by his aged aunt, Miss Charlotte Polidori -- evidently an English lady of the Cassandra Austen stamp -- who had excised all reference to "improper" sexual conduct and then destroyed the MS. Rossetti had, however, worked with the MS. while preparing his Memoir of Shelley in 1869, and he vouched for the transcript's authority being "only a shade less safe than that of the original" (p. 11).

22. Professor Marchand (II, 628) assigns the suggestion to the fourteenth or fifteenth. But Newman Ivey White (Shelley [New York, 1940], I, 443-444) assumes -- likewise without stated evidence -- that it came on the sixteenth.

23. The identification was first made, tentatively, by Rossetti (p. 124), but no one has since followed-up his suggestion.

24. Polidori received his medical degree at the "singularly early age . . . of nineteen." So young a man must have shown extraordinary talent and promise to have been recommended by Sir Henry Halford to an international celebrity like Byron the following year (Rossetti, p. 2).

25. Disputatio Medica Inauguralis, Quaedam de Morbo, Oneirodynia Dicto, Complectens (Edinburgh, 1815). The copy in the Houghton Library at Harvard is inscribed, "Our dearest Mother's own copy. / Christina to William M. Rossetti / September 1887." Polidori's concluding sentence affords us an interesting glimpse of the frontiers of psychotherapy in the year of Waterloo: "Verbera, electricitas, balnea frigida, si ita posita sint ut aeger in ea incidat cum e lecto somnambulans migrat, forsitan paroxysmorum reditum impedient." In modern medicine, of course, the term oneirodynia refers not to somnambulism but nightmare.

26. See J. C. Colquhon, Isis Revelata: an Inquiry into the Origin, Progress, and Present State of Animal Magnetism, 2 vols. (London, 1836).

27. This is Frederick L. Jones's suggestion for the "Introduction to Davy's Chemistry" cited by Mary Shelley at the end of her journal for 1816. Mary Shelley's Journal, ed. Frederick L. Jones (Norman, Oklahoma, 1947), p. 73.

28. Diary, p. 123.

29. On 5 June Polidori had also conversed with Dr. Odier on somnambulism and had been given an MS. by him on the subject.

30. The common experience of insomnia when sleeping for the first time in a strange house suggests the alternative possibility -- admittedly speculative -- that the nightmare occurred in the early morning hours of 17 June.

31. Even Rossetti makes this entirely unwarranted assumption, p. 126.

32. Nitchie, p. 27.

33. For some reason Shelley mentions only "two other friends" (himself and Byron?) as taking part in the writing contest.

34. Shelley and Mary (privately printed, 1882), II, 370; The Letters of Mary W. Shelley, ed. Frederick L. Jones (Norman, Oklahoma, 1944), I, 65. This exchange is quoted in Nitchie, p. 17n.

35. Journal (October 19, 1822), p. 184.

36. Diary, p. 127.

37. The greatest single influence upon Mary Shelley's first novel was, of course, the great anti-humanist Tendenzroman as practiced by her father. I have deliberately excluded all mention of Caleb Williams (1794) and St. Leon (1799) from this discussion; the similarities between them and Frankenstein are too extensive to be developed here and are perhaps obvious in any case.

38. Richard Garnett, ed., Tales and Stories by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (London. 1891), "Introduction," p. v.