Written by Mary Shelley (1797-1851), Frankenstein is the best-selling horror classic about an experiment that goes horribly wrong, and a monster who swears revenge on his creator. Swiss student Victor Frankenstein uncovers the secret to bringing life to what is lifeless, and in assembling body parts to create a monster, ultimately sets the stage for his own destruction and that of everything he loves when the monster is rejected by society. Penned as part of a competition between Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori to see who could write the best horror story, Frankenstein is resonant with themes of love, friendship, hubris, and fear. It presents the epic battle between man and monster, showing that man is not always capable of controlling that which he creates.
Frankenstein was first published anonymously in London in 1818, reflecting English biases towards female authors, and Mary Shelley was not credited as the author of Frankenstein until the French edition was published in 1823. Frankenstein has had a lasting influence on literary tradition, opening the door to literary horror as a genre, and is widely recognized as the first work of science fiction. It has been adapted for film, television, and stage, as well as providing the basis for new works of literary fiction.