Contents Index

Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones

Percy Bysshe Shelley, feigning the author's being abroad, handled the negotiations for a contract to publish Frankenstein, thus preserving Mary Shelley's anonymity. That he first sought out John Murray, Byron's publisher, may indicate that Byron himself suggested such an avenue to the Shelleys. Whatever the case, Murray declined the manuscript, upon whose refusal Shelley reverted to his own publisher Charles Ollier. When Ollier, too, declined to accept the book, the Shelleys were in something of a quandary. They resolved it by turning to a publishing house -- Lackington's -- that had a large inventory and specialized somewhat in sensational materials. According to the two-page advertisement sheet accompanying the novel when it was published in 1818 are representative works that the Lackington firm apparently thought might interest the reader of the novel: these include Francis Barrett, The Magus; or Celestial Intelligences; a complete System of Occult Philosophy, being a Summary of all the best Writers on the subjects of Magic, Alchymy, Magnetism, the Cabala &c. (1801); Francis Barrett, Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers with a Critical Catalogue of Books on Occult Chemistry (1815); Thomas Heywood, The Life, Prophecies, and Predictions of Merlin Interpreted (1813); Joseph Taylor Apparitions; or, the Mystery of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, and Haunted House (1814); John Toland, A Critical History of the Celtic Religion and Learning; containing an account of the Druids (1815); and -- though officially published by another house, White, Cochrane, & Co. -- Sarah Utterson, Tales of the Dead (1813), the English translation of Jean Baptiste Benôit Eyriès's Fantasmagoriana, the volume of ghost stories that served as pretext for the ghost-story contest from which Frankenstein eventually came into being (see 1831 Introduction 5 and note).