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This year marks the 200th anniversary of one of the Horror genre’s cornerstones – Mary Shelley’s seminal Frankenstein. Her work has gone on to inspire countless retellings, ones responsible for launching careers, generating unforgettable performances, and without which we would be left a little less afraid of what’s hiding in the shadows. Horror, as a genre in all forms of media, has grown into one of the world’s most beloved; whether it’s topping the Hollywood box office, or sitting atop best seller lists, boogeymen, monsters, and things that go “bump” in the night are here to stay.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Richard Rothwell © National Portrait Gallery, London
To celebrate Shelley’s masterpiece [and Halloween], we are going to retell the story of Frankenstein as we visit homes that would have been along Victor’s journey through Europe as he created, eluded, and hunted down the world-famous “Frankenstein Monster.” Join us below.
Victor Frankenstein’s travels take him a long way through many of Europe’s countries, but his life’s journey begins here as he is born in Naples, Italy.
Arguably the most important city in the story, Victor grows up in Geneva and will return here frequently throughout the tale.
Just north of Munich, in Ingolstadt, Germany, Victor gives life to his creation – it is here the monster is born and Victor’s life is changed forever.
After laying eyes on his creation, Victor abandons his monster and flees, trying desperately to escape the abomination. It’s in the shadow of Mont Blanc, some time after the events in Germany, that he sees his creation again – and where it asks Victor to create a partner.
Realizing that his research and need for new “components” requires a trip to London, Victor stops and stays in Rotterdam along the way.
Victor pieces together his plan to build the monster a mate, only to abandon his plans after finding himself unable to create a second monster. Out of fear of the implications, Victor disposes of his work and forsakes his original creation, setting off a series of gruesome, revenge-fueled acts by the monster.
If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!
On his way home to Geneva Victor stops briefly in Paris. It is here he writes to his love, Elizabeth, promising that he will marry her. Once he arrives back home in Geneva, he honors his promise and they wed.
Victor and his new wife honeymoon at Lake Como. It is here that the monster takes the life of Victor’s partner, enacting his revenge for Victor’s failure to create a partner. Victor dedicates the rest of his life to hunting down and destroying the monster, eventually finding himself on his death bed floating on the icy waters of the Arctic. Victor dies. Overtaken by sorrow after discovering the death of his creator, the monster retreats to a self-imposed exile at the North Pole, never to be seen again.
Much has changed in the 200 years since Shelley penned the classic tale; many don’t even realize that her work of genius is what lies behind the nuts and bolts of Boris Karloff’s 1931 cinema-altering performance. One thing though is certainly for sure, Frankenstein (and his monster) are indelible parts of popular culture, art, and tradition.