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Mary Shelley

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Mary Shelley
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Known aliases Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley

Mary Shelley was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. The conception of Shelley's seminal work was bred from a popular tale in which she, her lover the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John William Polidori spent a summer evening at the Villa Diodati, a house Byron rented by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Byron challenged each of them to craft a tale of macabre horror, which would be read and reviewed by one another to judge which one was the most terrifying. From this, Mary Shelley breathed life into what would become one of the most infamous stories of all time -- Frankenstein. It has been argued that Shelley's Frankenstein represents not only a seminal piece of horror fiction, but is the world's first science fiction novel as well (despite the fact that Shelley only vaguely references the scientific processes used in the creation of Victor Frankenstein's monster).

Mary Shelley has also been the subject of several films. She first appeared as a character in the opening prologue to the 1935 film The Bride of of Frankenstein. Actress Elsa Lanchester played the role of Shelley as well as the Bride.

In 1986, director Ken Russell produced the film Gothic, which chronicled the events of the summer of 1818 at the Villa Diodati. The late actress Natasha Richardson played the role of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin].

Mary Shelley was also a central figure in the 1990 film Frankenstein Unbound where she was played by actress Bridget Fonda. In this film, Shelley meets a time-traveling scientist named Joe Buchanan (John Hurt), who comes back to the 18th century and meets Shelley as well as the Frankenstein Monster.

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