Frankenstein Chronology

All of the entries in this chronology, with the exception of a few birth and death dates, make up a narrative about the conception, draft, fair copy, publication, and reception of MWS’s novel—as well as the provenance of The Frankenstein Notebooks. Notes supplement or qualify some entries.1 (Parentheses are used in most entries to gloss or extend the data that is provided in the entry. For the latest and fullest “Chronology of Life and Works” of MWS, see 1818 Crook, pages lxxv-lxxxvii.)

30 August 1797 MWS was born to William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, her mother dying eleven days later on 10 September.

June–November 1812; June 1813-March 1814 MWS resided with the family of William Baxter in Scotland, providing her a basis for some of the descriptions of Scotland in Frankenstein.

[?5] May 1814 MWS met PBS, most likely for the second time, in London at the house of her father, William Godwin.2

28 July 1814 MWS and PBS (accompanied by MWS’s step-sister Claire Clairmont) eloped to the Continent, where they toured France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland for a period of six weeks.

28 December 1814 MWS recorded in her London Journal that she attended “Garnerin’s lecture—on Electricity—the gasses—& the Phantasmagoria” (MWS Journal, I, 56), revealing that she was interested in matters scientific prior to conceiving Frankenstein.

22 February and 6 March 1815 MWS and PBS’s daughter was born prematurely and died.

[late August/early September] 1815 MWS, her step-brother Charles Clairmont, PBS, and Thomas Love Peacock journeyed from Windsor to Oxford and, while there, “saw the Bodleian Library, the Clarendon Press [i.e., the present Clarendon Building], & walked through Quadrangles of the different Colleges; We visited the very rooms where the two noted Infidels Shelley [PBS] & [his fellow-student Thomas Jefferson] Hogg … poured with the incessant & unwearied application of an Alchemyst over the artificial & natural boundaries of human knowledge; brooded over the perceptions which were the offspring of their villainous & impudent penetration & even dared to threaten the World with the horrid & diabolical project of telling mankind to open its eye. I am sure you will duely apreciate the sagacity & rigid justice of the directors, whose anxiety <of> for the commonweal led them to excommunicate such impious monsters” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 14–15; see also Barker-Benfield, “Visits,” pages 392–393). (This passage anticipates Frankenstein in a number of ways, with references to “monsters,” “an Alchemyst,” “boundaries of human knowledge,” and the “Clarendon Press,” which was also visited by Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval in an unused Draft passage of Frankenstein; for additional information on the way MWS’s later excursion near Oxford affected the narrative of her novel, see 20 October, [22] October, and 28 October 1817 below.)


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24 January 1816 MWS and PBS’s son William Shelley was born.

March/April 1816 Claire Clairmont, who began her relationship with Lord Byron at this time in London, wrote to him that “the Creator [Byron] ought not to destroy his Creature [Claire]” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 24), a phrasing that anticipates the circumstances of Frankenstein.3

2 May 1816 MWS, PBS, their son William, and Claire Clairmont (pregnant with Byron’s child) departed London for their journey to Switzerland.

6 May 1816 Claire Clairmont from Paris wrote to Byron in Geneva that she and the Shelley party would soon arrive in Geneva and that she had “taken the name of Clairville because you said you liked the name of Clare but could not bear mont because of that very ugly woman [Mrs. Clermont, who had been a maid in Byron’s household]” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 43), a naming that may bear on the name of “Clairval” and “Clerval” in Frankenstein.

13 May 1816 MWS, PBS, and their party arrived at Lake Geneva and temporarily resided at the Hôtel d’Angleterre at Sécheron.

1 June 1816 MWS from Geneva wrote to [?Fanny Imlay Godwin] that “The thunder storms that visit us are grander and more terrific than I have ever seen before. We watch them as they approach from the opposite side of the lake, observing the lightning play among the clouds in various parts of the heavens, and dart in jagged figures upon the piny heights of Jura, dark with the shadow of the overhanging cloud, while perhaps the sun is shining cheerily upon us. One night we enjoyed a finer storm than I had ever beheld. The lake was lit up—the pines on Jura made visible, and all the scene illuminated for an instant, when a pitchy blackness succeeded, and the thunder came in frightful bursts over our heads amid the darkness” (History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, pages 99–100; also printed in MWS Letters, I, 20). (This description formed the basis for Victor’s description of a thunderstorm upon his return to Geneva from Ingolstadt; for MWS transforming her other personal experiences [as well as those of PBS] into the text of Frankenstein, see 23 June and 24 July 1816 below.)

10 June 1816 Byron moved into the Villa Diodati, just a few minutes from the Maison Chappuis, where MWS, PBS, and Claire Clairmont had moved—in the evenings they would walk to Diodati to visit Byron and his doctor John William Polidori.

15 June 1816 Polidori entered in his Geneva Diary that at Diodati “Shelley and I had a conversation about principles,—whether man was to be thought merely an instrument” (Polidori Diary, page 123). It is impossible to determine if this “conversation about principles” preceded, precipitated, or followed the ghost-story competition proposed by Byron at this time—that is to say, the ghost stories could have begun (1)before 15 June(as is suggested by MWS’s recollection of her delay in conceiving a story); (2) on 15 June, with the possibility that what Polidori recorded as a “conversation about principles” between PBS and Polidori was actually what MWS later remembered as one of the “conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley” on “the principle of life” (see 16 June below); or (3) on 16 June(the date often given for the start of the stories).

As MWS recalled in her 1831 Introduction, she and others read “Some volumes of ghost stories, translated from the German into French”;4 then “‘We will each write a ghost story,’ said Lord Byron; and his proposition was acceded to. There were four of us [MWS omitted Claire Clairmont as a participant although she may have contributed a story—see 6 October 1817 below]. The noble author [Byron] began a tale, a fragment of which he printed at the end of his poem of Mazeppa [see 17 June 1816 below]. Shelley … commenced one founded on the experiences of his early life.5 Poor Polidori had some terrible idea about a skull-headed lady, who was so punished for peeping through a key-hole [see 17 and 18 and 19 June 1816 below] ...¶ I busied myself to think of a story,— a story to rival those which had excited us to the task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name. I thought and pondered—vainly …. Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative” [1831, pages vii-ix].)

[?16] June 1816 It is possible that what MWS remembered as the most important of the “conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley” on “the principle of life” actually took place on 16 June (the day after PBS and Polidori “had a conversation about principles”—see 15 June 1816 above), producing the dream that then led to MWS beginning her story on 17 June.

According to MWS’s 1831 Introduction, “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 [after the ghost stories were begun but before MWS had thought of her story], 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. They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin, (I speak not of what the Doctor really did, or said that he did, but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken of as having been done by him,) 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. ¶ Night waned upon this talk; and even the witching hour had gone by, before we retired to rest. When I placed my head on 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. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world…. He [the student] would hope … that this thing, which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter; and he might sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes. ¶ I opened mine in terror. … I could not so easily get rid of my hideous phantom; still it haunted me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred to my ghost story,—my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night! ¶ Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. ‘I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.’ On the morrow [?17 June] I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of November, making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream” (1831, pages ix-xi). (The fact that these words appear not at the beginning but rather in Draft, Vol. I, Ch. 7a, argues for the existence of an “ur-text”—a preliminary but no longer surviving “story” that MWS wrote and possibly even finished in the summer of 1816—see 24 July 1816 below.]

17 June 1816 Polidori entered in his Diary that “The ghost-stories are begun by all but me” (Polidori Diary, page 125), suggesting that MWS had begun her story on or by 17 June 1816. (Byron seems to have concluded his participation in the story-telling by this time, for his “A Fragment” was headed with the date “June 17, 1816”—see Mazeppa,A Poem [London: John Murray, 1819], pages 59–69. For texts of Byron’s “A Fragment” and of Polidori’s The Vampyre, see 1818 Rieger, Appendix C, pages 260–287; see also Polidori Fiction, pages 171–176 and 33–49 [but note the emendations made by the editors to Polidori’s tale].)

18 June 1816 Polidori recorded in his Geneva Diary that “Shelley and party here. Mrs. S[helley] called me her brother (younger). Began my ghost-story after tea. Twelve o’clock, really began to talk ghostly. L[ord] B[yron] repeated some verses of Coleridge’s Christabel, of the witch’s breast; when silence ensued, and Shelley, suddenly shrieking and putting his hands to his head, ran out of the room with a candle. Threw water in his face, and after gave him ether. He was looking at Mrs. S[helley], and suddenly thought of a woman he had heard of who had eyes instead of nipples, which, taking hold of his mind, horrified him” (Polidori Diary, pages 127–128; this story about PBS was published in the New Monthly Magazine on 1 April 1819—see below for that date).

19 June 1816 Polidori recorded in his Geneva Diary that he “began my ghost story” (Polidori Diary, page 132), a somewhat perplexing entry in that he also “Began” his story the preceding day (see 18 June 1816 above). (For further information on Polidori’s two stories at this time, his Vampyre as well as his novel Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus, see Macdonald, Polidori, pages 83–104; see also 1 April 1819 below.)

22–30 June 1816 MWS was apparently writing her “story” at this time while PBS and Byron took their boat tour around Lake Geneva (for the dating of that tour, see Gavin de Beer’s “Shelley’s Journeys” in SC, IV, 690 ff.; for evidence of MWS writing at that time, see [?19] August 1818 below).

23 June 1816 Without knowing it, PBS was also contributing to the text of Frankenstein when he was on his tour with Byron and wrote in his Geneva Notebook Diary that “I/We could observe its [the river Drance] path thro the chasm of the mountains & the glens of the lower hills, until The mountains here came closer to the lake, & we could see the eastern boundary enclose its waters so that & we approached the amphitheatre which of mountains which forms its eastern boundary. The spire of Evian shone in/under the woods that surrounded & the range of mountain above mountain which overhung it. We arrived at this town about seven a clock” (Erkelenz, pages 126–127).6 (Most important here is that this Diary text about PBS and Byron was used almost verbatim in Victor’s description of his boat trip with Elizabeth to Evian on their wedding night.7)

Exactly when MWS worked this text into her novel is not known, but the number of times MWS and/or PBS reworked this original Diary text are considerable: MWS and/or PBS probably transcribed PBS’s original Diary text from the Geneva Notebook into MWS’s now missing Journal (for June and the first three weeks of July 1816); PBS then reworked the original Diary text (or the lost Journal transcription) into his long descriptive letter to Peacock of 17 July 1816 (see SC, VII, 25–49, especially page 29); MWS appears to have copied this letter of 17 July on 23 July 1816 (see that date below), and in late July/early August she probably reworked the original Diary text (or the lost Journal transcription) into the now lost ur-text of the “story” that eventually became the basis for the two-volume Draft of her entire “novel” Frankenstein in Notebooks A and B; MWS then reworked that “story” text (or the original Diary or the lost Journal text) into Notebook B in March/April 1817 when she wrote Draft: Vol. II, Ch. 16, page 162 (see [?18 March-9 April] 1817 below); MWS then in May 1817 transcribed the Draft text into Fair Copy: Vol. III, Ch. V, page 113 (see 18 April-13 May 1817 below); finally, MWS in October 1817 wrote out a revised and condensed version of the original Diary text when she fair copied the letters to Peacock for the text of History of a Six Weeks’ Tour for the printers (see page 114 of the published text; see 10–12 October 1817 below).

21–27 July 1816 MWS, PBS, and Claire Clairmont undertook a week-long excursion to Chamounix, which is described in MWS Journal, I, 112–121, as well as in PBS’s long letter of 22 July-2 August 1816 to Thomas Love Peacock (PBS Letters, I, 495–502), the latter used as the basis for Letter IV of 22–28 July 1816 in History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (pages 140–172). MWS was involved with all of these texts, for she apparently copied versions of this PBS letter to Peacock (see 23 July 1816, 28 September 1817, and 10–12 October 1817 below), and she used all of these texts for details in Frankenstein when she drafted Victor’s journey to the Valley of Chamounix with his father, his brother Ernest, and his cousin Myrtella (the name of Elizabeth in an earlier draft or the ur-text): compare especially MWS’s description in MWS Journal, I, 112–121, with Victor’s description in pages 236–267 of this edition, particularly the ascents of Montanvert and the visits to the Mer de Glace.8

22 July 1816 PBS in a letter to Byron referred to the Alps as “palaces of Nature” (PBS Letters, I, 495), a phrase from Byron’s recently finished Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: Canto the Third (stanza 62) that PBS read to MWS “One evening after returning from Diodati. It was in our little room at Chapuis” (see MWSJournal, I, 171)—MWS used that phrase in Frankenstein.

23 July 1816 MWS entered in her Geneva Journal9 that “in the evening I copy S’s letter to Peacock” (MWS Journal, I, 117), which could have been PBS’s long letter of 17 July 1816 (see SC, VII, 25–49, as well as 23 June 1816 above) and/or PBS’s long letter of 22 July-2 August 1816 (see PBS Letters, I, 495–502, as well as 21–27 July 1816 above). (If she copied the letter of 22 July-2 August on 23 July, then she could have copied only the first section of that letter [which she could have continued to copy as PBS continued to write it].)

24 July 1816 MWS entered “write my story” into her Geneva Journal (MWS Journal, I, 118) after she, PBS, and Claire Clairmont returned to the Hôtel de Londres following a torrential rain storm in the middle of their week-long excursion to Chamounix from 21 through 27 July. (This is the first direct reference to Frankenstein in the extant MWS Journals—although there may have been other references in the Journal entries between mid-June and 21 July that are now lost. This “write my story” and most or all of the other instances of “write” in the Journal up through early August [and possibly up through 18 September or even 7 October 1816] apparently refer to a now lost ur-text of the “story,” a shorter tale that became the basis for the text of the two-volume “novel” that MWS would soon draft into Notebooks A and B. For evidence that MWS was actually copying from this lost ur-text or earlier “story” when she was writing Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 13 in Notebook A, see transcription page 241 in this edition where the cancel lines suggest that MWS miscopied, canceled, and then recopied two sentences; see also transcription page 243 where MWS copied the earlier name of “Myrtella” that she then canceled and replaced with the name of “Elizabeth” that was used in all but two places in Notebook A.10)

29 July and 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 August 1816 MWS entries of “Write” or “write” in her Geneva Journal (MWS Journal, I, 121–123) most likely refer to her “story” Frankenstein and may in fact indicate that she was writing at this time the episode of the Frankenstein party’s excursion to the Valley of Chamounix (see 24 July 1816 above). (It is also possible that her “story” was a subject of discussion when MWS and PBS did “talk of our plans” on 3 August.)

8 August 1816 Charles Clairmont from the French Pyrenees wrote to MWS in Geneva that he had been improving his French, was learning Italian and Spanish, and planned to learn German by going to Frankfort and possibly to “Ingolstat” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 63). (These circumstances seem to bear on MWS’s plotting of Frankenstein, where Clerval [also called “Clairval” in manuscript] is interested in languages and where Victor studies at the university of Ingolstadt.11)

12 August 1816 MWS entry of “Write my story” into her Geneva Journal (MWS Journal, I, 124) almost certainly refers to Frankenstein, most likely to the “story” or ur-text (but possibly to the longer “book” or “novel” that she eventually began to draft into Notebook A—see 21 August 1816 below for the difficulty in determining this point).

13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 August 1816 MWS entries of “Write” or “write” in her Geneva Journal (MWS Journal, I, 125–126, 129) almost certainly refer to Frankenstein.

14 August 1816 According to MWSJournal, I, 125, “[the Gothic novelist Monk] Lewis comes to Diodati” but MWS did not meet him at this time. For an incorrect association of Lewis with the earlier ghost-story competition, see 10 November 1824 below.

18, 19, 20 August 1816 MWS entered in her Geneva Journal that PBS “reads Plutarch” (MWS Journal, I, 126, 129)—see also 15–28 November 1816 below for PBS reading Plutarch’s Lives just before MWS drafted the Safie episode in which the monster read Plutarch’s Lives.

21 August 1816 MWS entered “Shelley & I talk about my story” and “write” into her Geneva Journal (MWS Journal, I, 130). On this date—or possibly earlier—MWS and PBS most likely talked about ways to transform her “story” into a “book,” that is, into her “novel” Frankenstein. According to MWS’s 1831 Introduction, “At first I thought but of a few pages—of a short tale; but Shelley urged me to develope the idea at greater length. I certainly did not owe the suggestion of one incident, nor scarcely of one train of feeling, to my husband, and yet but for his incitement, it would never have taken the form in which it was presented to the world” (page xi). Without further evidence, it is impossible to determine the nature and length of the ur-text: was it that MWS (1) merely “thought but of a few pages—of a short tale [my italics]” and then, after writing just “a few pages,” quickly turned to the greater length of a novel, even as early as July? or did she (2) write an ur-text of 30 or 50 or more pages in June, July, and possibly even August—and then turn to Notebook A to rewrite and expand the ur-text into a longer novel? On the basis of the overall evidence (including a number of mistakes in the Draft that appear to result from copying an earlier text), I favor the second hypothesis.12

22, 24, 25 August 1816 MWS entries of “Write” in her Geneva Journal may refer to the “story” of Frankenstein, although MWS by this time may have already started the draft of her two-volume “novel” in Notebook A (which is of Continental origin). (The entry of “work” on 28 August, rather than referring to Frankenstein, probably related to MWS “Packing” in preparation for departure “from Geneva at nine in the morning” on Thursday, 29 August. It is doubtful that MWS continued writing her story or novel while she, PBS, their son William, Claire Clairmont, and the Swiss nursemaid Elise Duvillard journeyed from Geneva to Le Havre to Portsmouth [where they arrived on 8 September and whence PBS departed for London on 9 September] to Bath [where MWS and the others arrived at “about two” in the afternoon on Tuesday, 10 September]—see MWS Journal, I, 130–135.)

16, 18 September 1816 MWS entries of “Write” or “write” in her Bath Journal suggest that she temporarily resumed writing her story or novel Frankenstein. (The MWS entries of “work” on 11, 13, 14, and 16 September probably relate to MWS setting up household in Bath [where the Shelley party would remain during Claire Clairmont’s pregnancy], a judgment supported by the 13 September entry of “put things away & work” and the 16 September entry of “Write & read … [and]–work.” It is unlikely that MWS continued writing Frankenstein between 19 September [when she journeyed from Bath to Marlow to join PBS at the home of Peacock] and 25 September [when MWS and PBS returned to Bath]—see MWSJournal, I, 135–137.)

(In this and in a number of subsequent entries in this Chronology, there is considerable evidence that the word “work” in MWS’s Journal did not denote the writing of Frankenstein, and I propose that all previous readings of “work” as “write” in analyses of MWS’s life and works be severely questioned. MWS seems to be very specific in her entries, especially during the period of 1816–18, carefully choosing such words as “write,” “read,” “copy,” “transcribe,” and “translate.” Although the word “work” could denote yet another kind of literary activity [such as taking notes for current or future projects], I am confident that “work” actually refers to some of the physical work that any person in a household would do at this time: consider, for example, the Journal entry of “make jellies & work” in a cumulative entry for 27–31 July 1817 [MWSJournal, I, 177]; also consider the entries elsewhere in this “Frankenstein Chronology.”13)

25, 26 September 1816 MWS twice entered in her Bath Journal that she and PBS did “talk of our plans” (MWS Journal, I, 137), which might have included plans for writing Frankenstein. (MWS entries of “Work” or “work” on 26, 27, and 28 September probably referred to non-literary physical work rather than to the writing of Frankenstein.)

7 October 1816 MWS entry of “write” in her Bath Journal most likely refers to her story or novel Frankenstein.

9 October 1816 MWS’s half-sister Fanny Imlay Godwin committed suicide. (Writing was most likely postponed for a few days: MWS and PBS were alerted to the possibility of Fanny’s suicide on the 9th; PBS journeyed to Bristol and Swansea in search of Fanny on the 9th, 10th, and 11th; he returned with news of her suicide on the 12th; the MWS entries of “Work & read,” “work & read,” “walk & work” on 10, 11, and 15 October probably referred to non-literary physical work; and the entry of “buy mourning & work in the evening” on the 12th suggests that MWS’s “work” involved making up her mourning garments that very evening—see MWS Journal, I, 139–141; for the last conjecture about the mourning clothes, I am indebted to Nora Crook.)

18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 October 1816 MWS entries of “Write” or “write” in her Bath Journal almost certainly refer to her novel Frankenstein. (These eight days of concentrated writing [together with other hints given below] suggest that MWS at this time was drafting Walton’s introductory Letters in Notebook A; the separate references to “work” in three of these entries [19, 22, and 23 October] again suggest that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein—see MWS Journal, I, 141–142.)

26 October 1816 PBS entered in MWS’s Bath Journal that “Mary writes her book” (MWS Journal, I, 142). (This important and first reference to Frankenstein as a “book” [rather than the 12 August and 21 August 1816 references to a “story”] clearly means that by this time MWS was drafting her “novel” in Notebook A, most likely drafting Walton’s introductory Letters that concern his traveling from St. Petersburgh to Archangel where he hired a vessel to sail to the north pole. The fact that MWS at this time [between 14 October and 16 November 1816] was reading Russian-travel and sea-voyage literature [including Holcroft, Anson, Ides, and other “old voyages”—see MWS Journal, I, 141–146] confirms the likelihood. It is also possible that this reading caused MWS to redraft sections of the beginning of Notebook A, which redrafting could have led to MWS discarding the now missing pages 1–40 as early as November 1816.)

27 October 1816 MWS entered “Write Ch. 3½” in her Bath Journal and then altered the entry to “Write Ch. 2½” (see MWSJournal, I, 142; see also II, 700, for a misrepresenting note that MWS wrote “2½” over “3”: the “½” does not overlay the “3”; only the “2” overlays the “3”; and the ink and placement of “½” in the original manuscript suggest that MWS first wrote “3½” and then altered “3” to “2”), providing the first specific reference to where MWS was in the writing of Frankenstein. (Because MWS was almost certainly by this time drafting her novel in Notebook A, the following sequence best explains this journal entry. By August or September 1816, MWS had already written a shorter but now lost ur-text of her “story,” and by 27 October 1816 she had already formally drafted three sections of her “novel” Frankenstein in Notebook A: Walton’s introductory Letters [the now missing Draft: Vol. I, Letters I-IV—]; the original and partially missing Draft: Vol. I, Ch. [1]; and the original and extant Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 2 [later renumbered Ch. 3—]. Before MWS began drafting the next chapter about Victor’s first experiences at the university of Ingolstadt, she apparently decided to provide more information on Victor’s scientific background: to that end she wrote all or some of a rough-draft “half chapter” [what she first called “Ch. 3½” in her Journal] that detailed Victor’s scientific knowledge: this “half chapter” [which is extant on six consecutive unnumbered insert pages that are now a part of Notebook A—] was apparently intended to begin Ch. 3 before MWS went on in that same chapter to describe Victor’s first experiences at university, experiences that were most likely already outlined or even sketched out in the now lost ur-text of her story. She then apparently decided to interpolate this rough draft earlier in her text: to that end she canceled sections of Draft Ch. [1] into which she inserted these six rough-draft pages [which she then headed “Chapt. 2”—]; because the second “half” of this new “Chapt. 2” was the already written and remaining portion of the original Draft: Ch. [1], she altered her Journal note from “Write Ch. 3½” to “Write Ch. 2½” [that is, no longer the first “½” of the yet-to-be-completed “Ch. 3” but now the new first “½” (headed “Chapt. 2”) of an already drafted chapter. Finally, because she had added a chapter to her novel, she had to renumber her already written original “Chapter 2” to “Chapter 3”. All of these revisions were apparently completed before MWS wrote an unemended “Chap. 4” as the heading for her next chapter on Victor’s university education [what would have been the third chapter if MWS had not written these six insert pages]; all of these revisions most likely took place sometime between 27 October and 4 November 1816; and some of them possibly took place on 28 October, for which see below.)

28 October 1816 MWS entry of “Read the Introduction to Sir H. Davy’s Chemistry–write” in her Bath Journal (MWS Journal, I, 142) most likely refers to her drafting Frankenstein and probably relates to her writing the insert “Ch. 2½” described in the Chronology above for 27 October 1816. (MWS continued to read Sir Humphry Davy14 through 4 November, apparently in order to write about chemistry and “natural philosophy” in two Notebook A chapters: in the six unpaginated insert pages in Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 2; and in Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 4)

2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20 November 1816 MWS entries of “Write” and “write” in her Bath Journal (MWS Journal, I, 144–146) most likely refer to her drafting Frankenstein in Notebook A, and the entry on 20 November of “write (137)” almost certainly refers to her having finished page 137 in Notebook A, which is the last page of Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 12, the page that marks the end of the Justine story and concludes the first volume of 1818 (see transcription page 221 in this edition). (It is therefore very likely during this concentrated period of writing for twelve days or more that MWS was writing Draft: Vol. I, Chs. 4 or 5 through 12—see pages 54–221 in this edition. The separate references to “work” in five of these entries [as well as in four others during the same period] suggest that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein.)

15–28 November 1816 MWS entered in her Bath Journal (MWS Journal, I, 146–147) that PBS at this time read Plutarch’s Lives and Milton’s Paradise Lost (the latter, aloud to MWS), two works that the monster read at the De Laceys’ cottage (see Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [6]; see also 18, 19, 20 August 1816 above.)

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 November and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 December 1816 MWS entries of “Write” or “write” in her Bath Journal most likely refer to her drafting Frankenstein in Notebook A. (It is likely during this concentrated period of writing for fifteen days or more that MWS was writing Draft: Vol. I, Chs. 13–14 and Vol. II, Chs. l-[4], all or most of which was drafted in Notebook A [see 5 December 1816 below; and note that as late as November/December 1816 MWS still conceived of her novel as a two-volume work, Volume II of which dramatically opened with the monster’s monologue]. The separate references in three of these entries to “Work after tea” on 24 November and to “work in the evening” on 27 November and 2 December again suggest that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein—see MWS Journal, I, 147–148.)

5 December 1816 MWS wrote to PBS that “I have also finished the 4 Chap. of Frankenstein which is a very long one & I think you would like it” (MWS Letters, I, 22),15 which is most likely a reference to the now missing Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [4] that probably occupied about thirty pages in Notebook A (or, possibly, Notebook B)— previous draft chapters in Notebook A occupied anywhere from six to twelve pages. (Whether or not PBS liked the chapter, it appears that the “very long” and now missing Draft Vol. II, Ch. [4] was reduced by MWS and/or PBS into what became the much shorter 1818: Vol. II, Ch. V [the chapter on Safie’s arrival and her language instruction—. The “trauma” in the text at this point also involved the following chapter on the history of Safie and her father—the extant but revised Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [5], which became 1818: Vol. II, Ch. VI. Because MWS probably revised this Ch. [5] in April 1817 [see 10–17 April 1817 below, by which time she had finished the draft of her novel in Notebooks A and B, it is possible that she revised and drastically shortened the “very long” Ch. [4] at the same time. It is also possible that she corrected part of these two chapters as late as 29 April while she was fair copying her Draft—see 29 April 1817 below.16)

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 December 1816 MWS entries of “Write” and “write” in her Bath Journal most likely refer to her drafting Frankenstein in Notebooks A and/or B. (If Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [4] was completed by 5 December [see that date above], MWS during this concentrated period of writing for 7 days or more may have written Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [5] in Notebook A [or, possibly, Notebook B] and then continued her narrative in Notebook B with Draft: Vol. II, Chs. [6], 7, and 8 [this estimate of writing four chapters or thirty-four pages during these seven days is based on MWS averaging approximately five pages/day during each day she drafted Notebooks A and B: 7 x 5 = 35]. Once again, the separate references to “work” in three of these “write” entries between 6 and 13 December suggest that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein—see MWSJournal, I, 149–150. There are only three additional December entries [for the 14th, 15th, and 16th, the last a short cumulative entry], but in none of them is there a reference to writing. In fact, it is very unlikely that MWS drafted any more of her novel during the remainder of the month—see 15 December 1816 below.)

15 December 1816 MWS and PBS received the news that PBS’s first wife Harriet Westbrook Shelley had committed suicide by drowning herself in the Serpentine in London. (PBS then went up to London; upon his return to Bath, both PBS and MWS went up to London [apparently without taking their Journal], where they stayed with the “Leigh Hunts and the [William] Godwins” and where they were married on 30 December; the Shelleys then returned to Bath on 1 January 1817—see MWS Journal, I, 150–153.)

30 December 1816 MWS and PBS were married in London.

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 January 1817 MWS entries of “Write” and “write” in her Bath Journal most likely refer to her drafting Frankenstein in Notebook B. (In this concentrated period of writing for seven days or more [for part of which PBS was in London], MWS continued her narrative by apparently writing Draft: Vol. II, Chs. 9–12 in Notebook B [this estimate of writing four chapters or thirty-four pages during these seven days is based on MWS averaging approximately five pages/day during the days she drafted Notebooks A and B: 7 x 5=35]. The separate references to “work” in four of these “write” entries suggest that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein. From 11 January through 18 March, it is unlikely that MWS drafted any more of her novel in Notebook B: Claire Clairmont gave birth to her daughter Allegra on 12 January; MWS on that day entered “4 days of idleness” into her Bath Journal; although “work” appears six times as an entry between 17 and 23 January, there is no “write” entry; on 24 January, MWS celebrated her son William’s first birthday; on 25 January, she determined to go up to London to join PBS, who had been obliged to stay there since 6 January because of the Chancery suit on the custody of his and Harriet’s children Ianthe and Charles; on 26 January, MWS went up to London, where she and PBS stayed with the William Godwins and the Leigh Hunts while the Chancery suit continued; by 22 February, their son William, Claire Clairmont, her daughter Allegra, and the nurse Elise joined them in London; MWS, PBS, and William on 27 February removed to Marlow, where they stayed with Peacock; PBS returned to London on 2 or 3 March, carrying MWS letters to Leigh and to Marianne Hunt; MWS herself returned to London on 10 March, returned to Marlow on 13 March, and then occupied their new Albion House in Marlow on 18 March—see MWS Journal, I, 153–166; see also MWS Letters, I, 26–36. All of this activity took place in the first trimester of MWS’s third pregnancy.)

[?18 March–9 April] 1817 MWS entry of “the following week we enter our house [Albion House on 18 March]—Write every day” in a 23 February-9 April cumulative entry in her Marlow Journal (see MWS Journal, I, 165–166) most likely refers to her finishing the draft of Frankenstein in Notebook B. (The placement of “Write every day” in this entry suggests that MWS wrote for as many as twenty-three consecutive days from 18 March through 9 April, a period of time more than sufficient for her to draft the remaining eighty-two pages17 of Chs. 13–18 in Notebook B: approximately sixteen writing days at the average of five pages per day would have sufficed. The “extra” seven days here might mean a number of things: that “Write every day” did not mean every consecutive day; that MWS did not begin to “Write every day” until some days after she occupied Albion House on 18 March; that MWS finished drafting her novel before 9 April and, therefore, that “Write every day” also covered some of the time that she used to “Correct” the Notebooks [see 10–17 April 1817 below]; that these concluding chapters took longer because they were drafted without the benefit of earlier rough drafts; or, finally, that MWS was actually drafting more than Chs. 13–18 into Notebook B at this time [that is, I may have overestimated the number of chapters she drafted during the periods 6–13 December 1816 and 3–10 January 1817—see those dates above].)

27 March 1817 PBS was denied the custody of his and Harriet’s children (Ianthe and Charles) by order of the Chancery Court—see Medwin, Appendix III: “Chancery Papers Relating to Shelley’s Children by Harriett,” pages 463–486.

9 April 1817 The postmark on William Godwin’s letter to MWS, on the address leaf of which MWS wrote one of the corrections to her novel, provides a terminus ante quem non for the correction (see 10–17 April 1817 below.

10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 April 1817 MWS entries of “Correct F.” in her Marlow Journal (MWS Journal, I, 166–168) refer to her correcting Notebooks A and B for a period of eight days. (These corrections almost certainly involved Draft: Vol. II, Ch. 10, original pages 98–102, especially the shaded explanatory notes on transcription pages 417 and 429]; they most likely involved a complete rereading and correcting of the text in Notebooks A and B; and they probably involved the rewriting of Draft: Vol. II, Chs. [4] and [5] [see 5 December 1816 above; see also 29 April 1817 below when MWS may have also corrected the Draft]. At this time it is also likely that MWS decided to transform her two-volume novel in Draft into a three-volume novel in Fair Copy.)

18 April–13 May 1817 MWS entries of “Transcribe” and “transcribe” (as well as “Transcribe all day” on 24 and 25 April, “Transcribe and correct F.” on 29 April, and “Finish transcribing” on 10–13 May) in her Marlow Journal indicate that she transcribed the text from Draft Notebooks A and B into [?eleven] Fair-Copy Notebooks, of which only parts of Notebooks C1 and C2 survive. (Of the twenty-six possible transcription days between 18 April and 13 May, the entries in MWS Journal, I, 168–169, clearly indicate that she transcribed on at least twelve days [18–25 April; at least once during 26–29 April; at least once during 30 April-3 May; at least once during 4–9 May; at least once during 10–13 May], and they suggest that she may have transcribed on twenty-three or even all twenty-six days. See separate entry on 29 April 1817 below. Once again, the entry of “Transcribe all day—work after tea” on 24 April suggests that “work” did not refer to the writing of Frankenstein.)

During this same period, it appears that MWS and PBS made the marginal and interlinear calculations in Notebooks A and B by which they recorded and/or estimated the number of Fair-Copy pages used to transcribe the Draft (see “Hypothetically Reconstructing the Fair Copy” in Introduction).

29 April 1817 MWS entered “Transcribe and correct F.” in her Marlow Journal (MWS Journal, I, 168). (It is impossible to determine what notebook section MWS had to “correct” on 29 April: she could have corrected the Fair-Copy Notebook that she was transcribing; or she may have had to correct a section of Notebook A or B before she fair copied it. Nevertheless, because MWS on 29 April may have been about halfway through her fair copying [see 18 April-13 May 1817 above], it is possible that she was correcting one more time the “trauma” or intersection of Notebooks A and B, where the “very long” Draft: Vol. II, Ch. [4] and the following Ch. [5] were involved—see 5 December 1816 above.)

[?10–13] May 1817 For some unknown reason PBS wrote out the final 123/4 pages of the Fair Copy, providing an opportunity to contrast the ways that the two Shelleys approached the task of transcribing the Draft into the Fair Copy. (See Appendix A for parallel texts of the Draft and the extant Fair Copy, the evidence demonstrating that PBS took greater liberties with the Draft than did MWS.)

Some time after [?10–13] May 1817, the PBS Fair Copy was damaged by amateurish cutting of these pages from Notebook C2, and then MWS re-transcribed the damaged PBS Fair Copy. She might have made this re-transcription shortly after the fair copying was finished; she most likely made it no later than 3 August 1817, when the Fair Copy was sent to PBS’s publisher Charles Ollier for consideration (see 3 August 1817 below); and it is most unlikely that she made it after the Notebook was at the printer, because the PBS pages lack any evidence (e.g., the ink fingerprints, compositors’ initials and notations, and folds that are on the other extant Fair-Copy pages) of having ever been sent to the printer.18

14 May 1817 MWS entry in her Marlow Journal that “S. reads Hist of Fr. Rev. and corrects F. write Preface—Finis.” (MWS Journal, I, 169) indicates that PBS edited some or all of the Fair Copy and suggests that MWS herself wrote a preface after she transcribed her novel. (With possibly one exception, the extant Fair Copy does not evidence PBS’s hand in correcting MWS’s transcriptions; and even if MWS wrote a preface, it appears that it was discarded in favor of the published Preface written by PBS—see [?early September] 1817 below.)

26 May 1817 MWS entry in her London Journal that “Murray likes F.” means that the Fair-Copy Notebooks of Frankenstein had been submitted to Byron’s publisher John Murray for his consideration (see 29 May and 18 June 1817 below, and consider that PBS probably negotiated with Murray in the same way that he did later with Ollier and Lackington, not revealing the name of the “friend” who had written Frankenstein). (The Shelleys had departed Marlow on 22 May and arrived at the Godwins’ on 23 May: PBS returned to Marlow on 26 May; MWS, on 31 May—see MWS Journal, I, 170–172.)

29 May 1817 MWS in London wrote to PBS in Marlow that “Of course Gifford did not allow this courtly bookseller [Murray] to purchase F. I have no hope on that score but then I have nothing to fear” (MWS Letters, I, 36). (Despite the fact that he liked the novel, Murray upon the advice of his chief adviser William Gifford [who was also editor of the Quarterly Review] had apparently decided not to purchase the copyright of Frankenstein, but he may have considered other options for the novel [e.g., an agreement for half- or third-profits19] until 18 June [see that date below].)

18 June 1817 MWS entry in her Marlow Journal that “Frank. sent back—send it to G.” (MWS Journal, I, 174) apparently indicates that Murray had finally rejected the novel (although it is equally possible that the Murray rejection came by 29 May and that this entry refers to a rejection by another publisher; a third possibility is that Murray had rejected the novel on or around 29 May [see that date above] but had delayed returning the Fair-Copy Notebooks until 18 June). (By sending the Fair-Copy Notebooks to Godwin, MWS may have been using him to seek yet another publisher, a possibility supported by there being no extant record about the novel for the next six weeks. Because Godwin read Frankenstein in proof in October and November 1817 [see 13 October and 22, 24 November 1817 below], he may not have actually read the novel in manuscript at this time in June; however, Claire Clairmont referred to a letter in which Mrs. Godwin apparently indicated that she had read the novel in manuscript—see Claire Clairmont to Edward John Trelawny, [?April 1871], Clairmont Correspondence, II, 617.)

13 July 1817 MWS recorded in her Marlow Journal that PBS “tra[n]slates Promethes Desmotes and I write it” (MWS Journal, I, 177). The resulting translation of Aeschylus (as dictated by PBS to MWS) survives in Bodleian MS. Shelley adds. c. 5, folios 73–84 (see Barker-Benfield, Guitar, pages 88–89), in pages from a notebook identical to the one used for MWS’s re-transcription of PBS’s Fair Copy (see [?10–13] May 1817 above) and almost identical to Fair-Copy Notebooks C1 and C2 (see Introduction). (Because we do not know when MWS decided on the title or subtitle for her novel, it is possible that this translation of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound had something to do with it, but it is equally or even more possible that she decided on this title back in 1816: she certainly knew the Promethean myth before 1816 by means of her father’s book on mythology;20 in 1816 she listed “Prometheus of Eschylus–Greek” as one of the volumes PBS read [see MWS Journal, I, 97], and she was almost certainly familiar with Byron’s “Prometheus,” the ode he wrote in July or August 1816—PBS apparently translated Aeschylus for Byron before he wrote his ode, which Claire Clairmont then fair copied [see Byron Works, IV, 457].)

3 August 1817 PBS from Marlow asked his publisher Charles Ollier to publish Frankenstein in the following letter: “I send you with this letter a manuscript which has been consigned to my care by a friend in whom I feel considerable interest.—I do not know how far it consists with your plan of business to purchase the copyrights, or a certain interest in the copyrights of any works which should appear to promise success. I should certainly prefer that some such arrangement as this should be made if on consideration you could make any offer which I should feel justified to my friend in accepting. How far that can be you will be the better able to judge after a perusal of the Mss.21—Perhaps you will do me the favour of communicating your decision to me as early as you conveniently can” (PBS Letters, I, 549). (Ollier declined to publish the novel on any basis—see 6 August and 8 August 1817 below.)

On this same day, PBS from Marlow wrote to Hunt that “Bye-the-bye I have sent an MS. to Ollier concerning the true author of which I entreat you to be silent, if you should be asked any questions” (PBS Letters, I, 551).

By this day, it is likely that MWS had re-transcribed the PBS portion of the Fair Copy, the 123/4 pages at the end of the novel that he had fair copied on or just before 13 May (see [?10–13] May 1817 above); that is to say, neither MWS nor PBS would have wanted Ollier to see PBS’s distinctive hand in the manuscript of the anonymous “friend” whom PBS was representing to the various publishers.

6 August 1817 PBS in a postscript to a MWS letter from Marlow to Marianne Hunt wrote that “Poor Mary’s book came back with a refusal, which has put me rather in ill spirits. Does any kind friend of yours Marianne know any bookseller or has any influence with one? Any of those good tempered Robinsons? All these things are affairs of interest & preconception” (MWS Letters, I, 40). (This postscript apparently indicates that Ollier rejected the novel after having it but a few days [hence PBS’s “ill spirits” after asking Ollier on 3 August for an “early” decision]; PBS’s cynical remarks on the publishing trade suggest that he did not have another publisher immediately in mind; and the old firm of the good-natured Robinsons [George, George, John, and James: they had published Godwin in the 1790s] had died out by 1813.22)

6–9, 10–13, 14–17 August 1817 MWS entries in her Marlow Journal that she did “write the journal of our travels” and “write journal of our first travels” and “write” (MWS Journal, I, 178) suggest that she was preparing fair copies for the first half of History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, which was printed by C. H. Reynell and published by Thomas Hookham and Charles and James Ollier on 6 November 1817. (Although Hookham may have read and accepted for publication this first half of MWS and PBS’s collaborative Six Weeks’ Tour as early as 24–29 August when he visited Marlow [MWS Journal, I, 178–179], it is more likely that there was no publishing agreement until after 28 September 1817 when MWS inquired about any “prospect” for the book [see that date below as well as 10–12 October 1817 when MWS fair copied the second half of Six Weeks’ Tour]. These circumstances relate to the printing history of Frankenstein, which was also going through proofs in Autumn 1817 [see below, both entry and note, for 24 September 1817].)

8 August 1817 PBS’s concluding remark in a letter from Marlow to his publisher Charles Ollier (“I hope Frankenstein did not give you bad dreams” [PBS Letters, I, 552]) suggests that Ollier had already (and quickly) read the novel and even communicated his decision not to publish it (see 3 August and 6 August 1817 above).

9 August 1817 Charles Clairmont from France wrote to MWS in Marlow that “You say nothing more of your novel. Do not neglect it on any account, & send me one of the first copies” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 107).

18–24 August 1817 MWS entry of “A letter from Lackington” in her Marlow Journal (MWS Journal, I, 178) most likely refers to the letter PBS answered on 22 August 1817 (see that date below). (The interest that the firm of Lackington, Allen, and Co. took in Frankenstein may have resulted from the nature of some of the books it had published since 1801. According to the two-page advertisement bound into many copies of Frankenstein, the “Books Published by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones [the 1817–1820 incarnation of the partners] included Francis Barrett’s 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’s] Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers, with a Critical Catalogue of Books on Occult Chemistry . . . [1815]; Joseph Taylor’s Apparitions; or, the Mystery of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, and Haunted Houses … [1814]; [Thomas Heywood’s] The Life, Prophecies, and Predictions of Merlin Interpreted … [1813]; [John] Tolands Critical History of the Celtic Religion and Learning; containing an account of the Druids … [1815]; and Sarah Utterson’s translation and adaptation of Tales of the Dead [?1813, possibly the volume published by White, Cochrane, & Co.], the English translation of Eyriès’ Fantasmagoriana, the very volume that may have led to the ghost-story competition in the first place—see 15 June 1816 above and note 4.)

22 August 1817 PBS from Marlow wrote to Messrs. Lackington, Allen & Co. and proposed that they publish Frankenstein at half-profits: “I ought to have mentioned that the novel which I sent you is not my own production, but that of a friend who not being at present in England cannot make the correction you suggest. As to any mere inaccuracies of language I should feel myself authorized to amend them when revising proofs. With respect to the terms of publication, my first wish certainly was to receive on my friend’s behalf an adequate price for the copyright of the MS. As it is, however, I beg to submit the following proposal, which I hope you will think fair, particularly as I understand it is an arrangement frequently made by Booksellers with Authors who are new to the world.—It is that you should take the risk of printing, advertising, etc., entirely on yourselves and, after full deduction being made from the profits of the work to cover these expenses that the clear produce, both of the first edition and of every succeeding edition should be divided between you and the author. I cannot in [on] the author’s part disclaim all interest in the first edition, because it is possible that there may be no demand for another, and then the profits, however small, will be all that will accrue.

I hope on consideration that you will not think such an arrangement as this unreasonable, or one to which you will refuse your assent” (PBS Letters, I, 553). (This important letter indicates, among other things, [1] that PBS sometime between 7 and 21 August submitted the Fair-Copy Notebooks to Lackington without revealing that MWS was the author; [2] that the publisher had agreed to publish the novel, declined to purchase its copyright, and even suggested that the author defer profits until a 2d edition was published; [3] that PBS suggested the alternative of half-profits for the first edition, a proposal that eventually resulted in the author receiving one-third-profits—see 1 January 1818 below; [4] that the publisher had also suggested a substantial “correction” that PBS sidestepped; and [5] that PBS would oversee all or most of the transactions [including proofs and revises] between MWS and the publisher.)

[?early September] 1817 “Marlow, September, 1817.” was the place and date appended to the 1818 Preface when it was republished in 1831 (pages 1–2), and MWS in the 1831 Introduction (page xi) claimed that “As far as I can recollect, it [the preface] was entirely written by him [PBS].” (If MWS’s recollection was correct, then it is likely that she discarded her own preface that she apparently wrote on 14 May 1817 [see that date above].)

2 September 1817 MWS and PBS’s daughter Clara Everina Shelley was born.

[?2–19] September 1817 In a cumulative entry for 2–19 September in her Marlow Journal, MWS recorded not only that she was “confined,” having given birth to Clara on the 2d, but also that PBS did “Bargain with Lackington concerning Frankenstein” (MWS Journal, I, 179–180). (Although PBS was not successful in negotiating an agreement for half-profits [see 22 August 1817 above], he seems to have bargained at this time for the agreement of one-third-profits that earned the Shelleys £41.13s.l0d. [see 1 January 1818 below].)

24 September 1817 By this time Frankenstein was apparently being printed because proofs had already been sent to Marlow. When PBS went up to London with Claire Clairmont on 23 September, he may have taken a proof of a portion from 1818: Vol. I. By 24 September he used the inside address of “Mr. Leigh Hunt’s,/13 Lisson Grove North” when he wrote to “Messrs. Lackington & Co.” and begged “to inform them that he expects to remain in Town for a week or fortnight and that during that {?time} the proofs may be addressed as a{bove}” (PBS Letters, I, 556). But apparently another proof was on its way to Marlow, for later that night on [?24] September MWS wrote to PBS that she would “send you my dearest another proof—which arrived tonight in looking it over there appeared to me some abruptnesses which I have endeavoured to supply—but I am tired and not very clear headed so I give you carte blanche to make what alterations you please” (MWS Letters, I, 42). (These “abruptnesses” [corrected by either MWS or PBS], which were most likely early in 1818: Vol. I, may have been in Walton’s introductory Letters I-IV. Because these letters exist in neither Draft nor Fair Copy, it is impossible to determine where any revisions to these proofs might have been made. However, there is a possibility that PBS used this carte blanche to remove one of the “abruptnesses” by adding a passage in an early section of the proofs, what had been the beginning of Draft: Vol. I, Ch. 2. The added passage is almost certainly PBS’s: “I feel pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood …. But, in drawing the picture of my early days, I must not omit to record those events which led, by insensible steps to my after tale of misery: for when I would account to myself for the birth of that passion … I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; … it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys.”23)

24 or 25 September 1817 PBS again wrote to the publishers (or to the printers [Robert] Macdonald & Son24) and asked “if, particularly during his stay in town, the printer could be urged to expedition. The revi printing is remarkably accurate, & a revise will only be required where there shall happen to be made any considerable corrections of language” (SC, V, 298; see also PBS Letters, I, 558). (For revises that were necessary later, see 28 October 1817 below.)

28 September 1817 MWS from Marlow wrote to PBS in London that “I think you took up my journal of our first travels with you if you did tell me if you have done any thing with it or if you have any prospect—if you have I will go on instantly with the letters”; in a P.S. she asked “What of Frankenstein?” (MWS Letters, I, 47). (MWS suggests there was neither “prospect” nor contract yet for History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, the first half of which [the 1814 “journal”] PBS took to London but the second half of which [the 1816 “letters” from Geneva] had not yet been fair copied—see 6–17 August 1817 above and 10–12 October and [?14] October 1817 and 6 November 1817 below. MWS’s question about Frankenstein might indicate that proofs had not recently been forthcoming.)

5 October 1817 MWS from Marlow wrote to PBS in London that he should “Bring down also your proofs” (MWS Letters, I, 51), possibly referring to the proofs of Frankenstein that he was receiving at this time. (But it is more likely that “your” proofs referred to PBS’s epic poem Laon and Cythna, four “sheets” of which he had printed at about this time in order to interest a publisher [see PBS Letters, I, 563].)25

6 October 1817 PBS from London wrote to MWS in Marlow that “I have offered [Claire Clairmont’s] book to Lackingtons & to [the publishers] Taylor & Hessey & that they have both declined” (PBS Letters, I, 561). (This now lost “book” may have been a version of the not very good novel that Claire Clairmont began as a story on a “Ideot” back in 1814, but it is equally possible that the book originated in the Geneva ghost-story competition.26 It is worthy of note that almost all other members of the Shelley circle at this time were producing books: not only MWS and PBS’s History of a Six Weeks’ Tour [November 1817] and MWS’s Frankenstein [January 1818], but also William Godwin’s Mandeville [December 1817], PBS’s Laon and Cythna [December 1817, withdrawn and republished as The Revolt of Islam in January 1818], Thomas Love Peacock’s Rhododaphne [February 1818], and Leigh Hunt’s Foliage [February 1818]. All of these works, published within a few months of each other, led to a great flurry of drafts, fair copies, publishing agreements, proofs, revises, authors’ copies, advertisements, puffs, and reviews. PBS himself wrote reviews of Mandeville,Frankenstein, and Rhododaphne (see PBS Prose, I, 276–279, 282–288).

7 October 1817 MWS from Marlow wrote to PBS in London and asked him to “Remember my book—for transcribing” (MWS Letters, I, 53), the word “transcribing” used to denote fair copying—in this case the notebook was probably used for History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (see 10–12 October and [?14] October 1817 below).

10–12 October 1817 MWS in her Marlow Journal recorded that she did “write out letters from Geneva” and “transcribe” (MWS Journal, I, 181), indicating that she was preparing a fair copy of the second half of MWS and PBS’s History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, which was published on 6 November 1817 (see that date as well as [?14] October 1817 below).

13 October 1817 Entry in Godwin Diary of “Frankenstein, Vol. I” suggests that by this time he read the first volume in proofs (see also 22, 24 November 1817 below).

[?14] October 1817 MWS from Marlow wrote to PBS in London that “I intended—my best love—to have sent the letters by tomorrow mornings coach I shall not be able but depend on them by the next day” (MWS Letters, I, 54). (These “letters,” which were undoubtedly the fair-copy “letters from Geneva” that MWS mentioned in her Marlow Journal for 10–12 October 1817 [see that date above], were apparently sent to PBS in a parcel to the publisher Hookham on 15 October—see MWS Letters, I, 56).

[?middle] October 1817 The evidence below for MWS and PBS reading proofs from the beginning gatherings of 1818: Vol. III suggests that the proofs for 1818: Vol. II were completed by this time (see 20 October, [22] October, and 28 October 1817 below).

[?middle–late October] 1817 The British Critic, N.S., 8 (October 1817): 444, announced as “in the press” the two following works: “History of a Six Weeks’ Tour through a Part of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland;* with Letters descriptive of a Sail round the Lake of Geneva, and of the Glaciers of Chamouni”; and “A Work of Imagination, entitled Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, in three volumes.” (I have been unable to determine on what day this issue of The British Critic* appeared, although the second half of the month would be more likely because of the announcement of History of a Six Weeks’ Tour. The British Critic listed Frankenstein as published in the January 1818 issue and subsequently reviewed it in April 1818 [see that date below].)

20 October 1817 MWS entered in her Marlow Journal that “On Monday [20 October] go to Hambden in a gig with Papa—see Hambdens monument” (MWS Journal, I, 181).27 This excursion apparently caused MWS to make “considerable alterations” to the proofs for 1818: Vol. III, Ch. II, the chapter involving Victor’s and Clerval’s trip to Oxford and its “environs” where they “visited the tomb of the illustrious [John] Hampden, and the field on which that patriot fell.” Although there are no Fair-Copy or proof pages to document these alterations, the dramatic differences between the Draft and 1818 together with the evidence for [22] October and for 28 October 1817 make this a very likely cause and effect.

[22] October 1817 MWS entered in her Marlow Journal that she did “write translate F.” (This “translate” has perplexed some critics who believed that MWS meant to record that she was translating Spinoza or Apuleius [see, e.g., MWS Journal, I, 182, and n.4] or that she was actually translating Frankenstein into French [see, e.g., Sunstein, page 146]. It is almost certain, however, that MWS was using the word “translate” in the OED sense of “to transmute; to transform, alter” and that she was emending the proofs of the gathering signed “C” in 1818: Vol. III, Ch. II, in order to record her most recent experiences in Hampden and, possibly at the same time, to record her and/or PBS’s altered remarks about Oxford [see 20 October 1817 above and 28 October 1817 below].)28

23 October 1817 PBS in London wrote to Lackington that “I do not see that I can amend your announce of Frankenstein. On my part I shall of course do my utmost for my friend, & no quarter in which I think it can [be] successfully recommended shall be neglected. You are of course aware how much depends upon extensive & judicious advertising: a part of the question which you are the most competent to understand. I have paid considerable attention to the correction of such few instances of baldness of style as necessarily occur in the production of a very young writer, & beg again to request that the printer, as a particular accomodation to me should be urged to expedition. I shall return to Marlow tomorrow for a week or ten days during which time the proofs may be directed as before by the Marlow Coach” (PBS Letters, I, 564–565).

28 October 1817 PBS from Marlow wrote to “Messrs. Lackington & Co.” that “I thought it necessary just to say that I shall not find it necessary in future to trouble the printer with any considerable alterations such as he will find in the present sheet & that which immediately preceded it. But the alterations will be found of the last importance to the interest of the tale” (PBS Letters, I, 565). (Although there are no extant proof sheets to document these “considerable alterations” in the text that had been based on the Fair Copy, this important letter (in which PBS probably used the word “sheet” to denote an entire gathering of 24 pages in proof) almost certainly refers to alterations that MWS and/or PBS made to gatherings B and C in 1818: Vol. III, Chs. I-II. The “present sheet” would have been gathering “C” (pages 25–48 in Volume III) where MWS apparently did “translate” the proof in such a way as to introduce her very recent experiences in Hampden on 20 October 1817 [see that date above]. The immediately preceding “sheet” would have been gathering “B” (pages 1–24 in Volume III) where MWS and/or PBS apparently deleted remarks on Holland and the Dutch and replaced them with new and important material on Henry Clerval that also contained quotations from Leigh Hunt’s Story of Rimini and William Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” [note on page 449 that the revise made necessary by this “considerable alteration” led to an omission of a period after “friend” at the end of one of the interpolated paragraphs].)

3 November 1817 Although the printing of Frankenstein may not have been completed29 and although the Shelleys were promised six free copies by the publishing agreement, the Lackington statement of account with PBS debited him £6 on 3 November 1817 for ten additional copies of Frankenstein in boards (see SC, V, 397), suggesting that PBS initially ordered these extra copies in early November and that, possibly, proofs were actually finished by that date. (For more on these six and ten copies, see 23 and 31 December 1817 and 2 January 1818 below.)

6 November 1817 The official publication date of History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (“Printed for T. Hookham, jun.” and priced at 4s.6d.) according to advertisements in the Morning Chronicle of 30 October 1817 (page 1, column 4) and in the London Times of 1 November 1817 (page 4, column 3).

22, 24 November 1817 Entries in Godwin Diary of “Frankenstein, Vol. III, p. 115” on 22 November and of “Frankenstein, p. 192, fin.” on 24 November 1817 reveal that Godwin had finished his reading of a proof copy of 1818, the third volume of which had 192 pages.

28 November 1817 In a letter from Marlow, “Mr Shelley presents his compts. to Messs. Lackington & begs to inform them that he has, as yet, recieved no proof of the preface or the title of frankenstein. ¶ Mr. S. suggests the advantage of announcing it by advertisement once before publication; as much expectation of its success has been excited in a particular circle, which such an announce might improve into a demand” (William St. Clair, “Her Father’s Daughter,” in 1818 Moser, page 254; also printed more accessibly in St. Clair, Godwins & Shelleys, page 554, n.25). (See 1 December 1817 below for at least one of the early “announces” of Frankenstein.)

1 December 1817 The Literary Panorama, and National Register, N.S., 7 (1 December 1817): 425, announced under “Literary Register” that “A work of imagination, entitled Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus, in 3 vols. will be published towards the close of the present month.” (See 1 June 1818 below for The Literary Panorama review of Frankenstein.)

3 December 1817 PBS from Marlow wrote to “Messrs. Lackington & Co.” and “Inclosed … a dedication which has been transmitted to me by the Author of Frankenstein, & which should be printed as is customary immediately subsequent to the Title. How soon do you propose to publish it?” (PBS Letters, I, 572).

16 December 1817 PBS from Marlow wrote to Thomas Moore to acknowledge what Moore had evidently deduced, that PBS and MWS had authored History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, and to add that “Mrs. Shelley, tho’ sorry that her secret is discovered, is exceedingly delighted to hear that you have derived any amusement from our book.—Let me say in her defence that the journal of the Six Weeks Tour was written before she was seventeen, & that she has another literary secret which I will in a short time ask you to keep in return for having discovered this” (PBS Letters, I, 583).

23 December 1817 PBS from Marlow wrote to “Messrs. Lackington & Co.”: “let me have copies of Frankenstein as soon as they can be put in boards—I think I said, that in addition to the six stipulated for, I wished nine to be sent to make in all fifteen, & the extra copies to be placed to mine or the author’s account.—On what day do you propose to publish it?” (PBS Letters, I, 585). (PBS’s “I think I said … nine … extra copies [my italics]” helps reconcile this entry with the entries of 3 November 1817 [when PBS was billed for ten rather than nine additional copies of Frankenstein] and of 2 January 1818 [when he apparently repeated his request, but this time for “ten additional copies”].)

28 December 1817 The weekly London Observer (page 1, column 3) advertised that “On Monday, Dec. 29, 1817, will be published, in 3 vols, dedicated to William Goodwin [sic], a Work of Imagination, to be entitled, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” (partly quoted in Lyles, page 155). This advertisement was repeated on 4 January 1818 (page 4, column 1) and then replaced by one for “Just published …” on 18 January 1818 (page 2, column 2). (Although the Observer recorded a publication date of 29 December 1817 for Frankenstein, there are four reasons to date its publication on 1 January 1818: the fact that the Observer, a weekly, received on or before 27 December an earlier and possibly less exact advertisement; the imprint date of 1818; the arrival of the Shelleys’ copies on 31 December 1817; and the advertisements in the Times, a daily, that announced the publication of Frankenstein on 1 January 1818—see 30 December 1817 and 1 January 1818 below.)

30 December 1817 The London Times advertised that “On Thursday, Jan. 1, 1818, will be published in 3 vols., price 16s.6d., a Work of Imagination, to be entitled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” (page 4, column 1). This advertisement was repeated on 31 December 1817 (page 4, column 1) and replaced by one for “This day is published …” on 1 January 1818 (page 4, column 1).30

31 December 1817 MWS entered into her Marlow Journal that “Fran[kens]tein comes”31 (MWSJournal, I, 189), most likely in the six copies in boards stipulated by the publishing agreement (see SC, V, 397) but lacking the additional copies in boards that PBS had requested: he seems to have forgotten that he ordered ten additional copies on or before 3 November 1817; he then repeated the request on 23 December 1817 but misremembered the ten copies as “nine”; then, after realizing or being informed that he had originally requested ten copies, he repeated his request on 2 January 1818, this time for “ten additional copies” (see these dates above and below).

1 January 1818 First London edition of Frankenstein was published32 anonymously in three volumes in 12mo. by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones in 500 copies: each copy (on wove paper watermarked “1816”) bound in paper-covered boards was priced at 16s.6d. According to the extant financial statement between PBS and Lackington (printed in SC, V, 397–398), six copies in boards were given to the author; sixteen in boards were sent to reviewers; eleven in boards were sent to copyright libraries (but see 15 January 1818 below); eight unbound copies were given as premiums to booksellers who took twenty-five copies for sale; the remaining 459 unbound copies (stitched or in quires) were discounted at 10s.6d. to booksellers, yielding £240.19.6, from which were deducted printing and other expenses of £115.18.0,33 leaving a profit of £125.1.6, one-third of which (£41.13.10) was due to the author. It appears from the financial statement that ten of the remaining 459 copies were sold to the Shelleys, who were charged £6 or 12s./copy (apparently 10s.6d. for each unbound copy plus ls.6d. for the binding in boards of each novel in three volumes). If this extra charge of ls.6d. for the binding in boards (@6d./volume) was what commercial booksellers would also pay to bind the books in boards for their customers, then the booksellers (who also paid 10s.6d. for each unbound copy) would have earned 4s.6d. on each retail sale: 16s.6d. - (10s.6d.+1s.6d.) = 4s.6d. (In his statement of accounts, Lackington entered a similar expense of £2.9s.6d. for binding all 33 copies that he gave away: 594d. ÷ 33 = 18d. [that is, 1s.6d. for binding each set of a three-volume novel].)

2 January 1818 PBS from Marlow wrote to “Messr Lackington & C°” and requested “ten additional copies of Frankenstein to be sent, which may be placed to mine or to the Author’s account as you please—I am not at liberty to send any of these or of those already sent except to the personal friends of the author. None of these are officially connected with any of the Reviews, & if the any of them should express their opinions of the work to the public it would be solely through the Newspapers.—I have no influence in any other quarter” (SC, V, 395; also printed in PBS Letters, I, 590). (The underlined “ten” suggests that the nine copies in boards that PBS requested on 23 December 1817 had not yet arrived and that PBS either recalled or was informed that he had requested not nine but ten additional copies back in early November 1817—Shelley’s account with Lackington on 3 November 1817 had been charged £6 for ten copies ofFrankenstein bound in boards [see SC, V, 397–398]—see 3 November and 23 December and 31 December 1817 above.)34

On this same day, PBS from Marlow wrote to Walter Scott that “The Author has requested me to send you, as a slight tribute of high admiration & respect, the accompanying volumes. ¶ My own share in them consists simply in having superintended them through the press during the Author’s absence. Perhaps it is the partial regard of friendship that persuades me that they are worthy of the attention of the celebrated person whom I have at present the honour to address” (PBS Letters, I, 590). (For Scott’s review ofFrankenstein and for MWS’s response, see 20 March/1 April and 14 June 1818 below.)

On this same day, PBS from Marlow wrote to his publisher Charles Oilier that “I send a copy of Frankenstein to be bound for me in some neat & appropriate binding…. ¶ I should like to hear your opinion of Frankenstein” (SC, V, 393).


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12 January 1818 Claire Clairmont wrote to Byron that “Mary has just published her first work a novel called Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus. It is a most wonderful performance full of genius & the fiction is of so continued and extraordinary a kind as no one would imagine <to belong to> could have been written by so young a person” (Clairmont Correspondence, I, 111).

15 January 1818 PBS in Marlow wrote to his publisher Charles Ollier in London and asked “Do you hear any thing said of Frankenstein?” (SC, V, 446; also printed in PBS Letters, I, 593).

According to the register books at Stationers’ Hall, only one copy of Frankenstein was registered on this date. Because Lackington’s statement of account with PBS indicated that eleven copies were “Claimed under Copy Right” for the copyright libraries (see SC, V, 397), it seems that someone, perhaps even Lackington, profited by having ten additional bound copies for sale.

17 January 1818 Claire Clairmont in her Marlow Journal entered that “In the Evening write part of a Critiscism [sic] on Frankenstein” (SC, V, 451), but there is no other record of what she wrote.

[?February 1818] PBS at some undetermined time wrote a review of Frankenstein that was not published until 10 November 1832 (see that date below). (A now incomplete holograph draft of this review is in the Library of Congress Shelley notebook—see PBS Prose, I, 282–284 and 489–492.) In the published review PBS called Frankenstein “one of the most original and complete productions of the day,” and he carefully avoided calling the “Being” a “monster” (see “Naming in The Frankenstein Notebooks” in the Introduction).

It is possible that MWS copied PBS’s review on 21 and/or 23 February 1818: “Copy S’s critique on [Peacock’s] Rhododaphne” is an entry on 20 February, but “Copy S’s critique” on 21 February and “Finish copying S’s critique” on 23 February may refer to PBS’s review of Frankenstein as well as his review of Rhododaphne.

20 February 1818 By this date (when the February 1818 Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine was published in Edinburgh), the “To Correspondents” preliminaries announced that “The Criticism on ‘Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,’ is received.” (This information on Scott’s forthcoming review [see 20 March/1 April 1818 below] would have been available to the Shelleys by 28 February 1818, the publication date of the February 1818 Blackwood’s in London.)

25 February 1818 PBS’s friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg had earlier sent a copy of Frankenstein to John Frank Newton, who then returned the novel with a conjecture about its author. Hogg then drafted a letter in which he disabused Newton with the following remarks: “The Novel wch you returned has … afforded an opportunity for … conjecture when you guess … that the name of the author is Shelley you guess rightly but when you would prefix the words Percy Bysshe the infirmity of our nature interposes between you & the truth wch whispers Mary In plain terms Frankenstein …is written by Mrs Shelley & is th fore [sic] estimable … not for its own sake alone but as a present pledge … of future excellence.—That This is a profound secret & no more to be divulged without dread than the name of D-m-g-rg-n [Demogorgon] I need not press upon your attention your favorite studies must forcibly suggest the fatal consequences of an indiscret disclosure” (SC, V, 502). Clearly, a number of acquaintances of the Shelleys did not know what MWS had undertaken and recently published.

[?] March 1818La Belle Assemblée, or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, 2d Series, 17 (March 1818): 139–142, reviewed Frankenstein as “a very bold fiction” with “originality, excellence of language, and peculiar interest.” (For a photofacsimile of this review, see Romantics Reviewed, I, 42–45.)

The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany; A New Series of “The Scots Magazine” 2 (March 1818): 249–253, reviewed Frankenstein as “one of the productions of the modern school in its highest style of caricature and exaggeration. It is formed on the Godwinian manner, and has all the faults, but many likewise of the beauties of that model …. it possesses a similar power of fascination, something of the same mastery in harsh and savage delineations of passion, relieved in like manner by the gentler features of domestic and simple feelings.” In this mixed review (“there is much power and beauty, both of thought and expression, though, in many parts, the execution is imperfect, and bearing the marks of an unpractised hand”), the reviewer judged that the “tour to the valley of Chamounix … is very beautifully written; the description of the mountain scenery, and of its effect on Frankenstein’s mind, is finely given.”35 (For a photofacsimile of this review, see Romantics Reviewed, II, 819–823; for partial reprintings, see Grylls, page 317; 1818 Macdonald, pages 309–311; 1818 Hunter, pages 191–196 [misattributed to Walter Scott].)

12 March 1818 MWS, PBS, Claire Clairmont, three children (MWS’s William and Clara together with Claire’s Allegra), and two servants (the nurse Elise Duvillard and the maid Milly Shields) sailed from Dover to Calais on their way to Italy. Although MWS and PBS took with them copies of 1818 for distribution and personal use, they had left behind at Marlow various letters and papers that could have included the surviving pages of The Frankenstein Notebooks (but see also 7 June 1887 below).

20 March/1 April 1818 Walter Scott favorably reviewed Frankenstein in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 2 (March 1818): 613–620, as an “extraordinary tale, in which the author seems to us to disclose uncommon powers of poetic imagination …. It … is written in plain and forcible English …. The ideas of the author are always clearly as well as forcibly expressed.” Scott also remarked that “Frankenstein is a novel upon the same plan with [Godwin’s] Saint Leon; it is said to be written by Mr Percy Bysshe Shelley, who, if we are rightly informed, is son-in-law to Mr Godwin; and it is inscribed to that ingenious author.” (For a photofacsimile of this review [published in Edinburgh on 20 March and in London on 1 April36], see Romantics Reviewed, I, 73–80; for other partial reprintings, see Grylls, pages 317–318, and 1818 Macdonald, pages 303–309; for MWS’s response to this review, see 14 June 1818 below.)

[?] April 1818 The British Critic, N.S., 9 (April 1818): 432–438, published a long and mixed review of Frankenstein that began and ended with hints of MWS’s authorship: “This is another anomalous story of the same race and family as [Godwin’s] Mandeville; and, if we are not misinformed, it is intimately connected with that strange performance, by more ties than one”; “The writer of it is, we understand, a female; this is an aggravation of that which is the prevailing fault of the novel; but if our authoress can forget the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment.” In between, the reviewer observed that Frankenstein bears “marks of considerable power … but this power is so abused and perverted, that we should almost prefer imbecility” and that “there are occasional symptoms of no common powers of mind, struggling through a mass of absurdity.” (The British Critic announced Frankenstein as a work in press in [?middle-late October] 1817 [see that date above] and listed it as published in January 1818.)

The Gentleman’s Magazine 88 (April 1818): 334–335, published a short review of Frankenstein as “the production of no ordinary Writer; and, though we are shocked at the idea of the event on which the fiction is founded, many parts of it are strikingly good, and the description of the scenery is excellent.” (For a partial reprinting of this review, see 1818 Hunter, pages 196–197.)

The Monthly Review, N.S., 85 (April 1818): 439, reviewed Frankenstein in a short paragraph as “An uncouth story, in the taste of the German novelists, trenching in some degree on delicacy, setting probability at defiance, and leading to no conclusion either moral or philosophical. In some passages, the writer appears to favour the doctrines of materialism: but a serious examination is scarcely necessary for so excentric a vagary of the imagination as this tale presents.”

24 April 1818 Leigh Hunt from London concluded a letter to PBS in Italy that “Frankenstein is in request as usual” (SC, VI, 596; also printed in Hunt Correspondence, I, 119), possibly referring to his own personal copy.

28 April 1818 PBS from Milan wrote to Byron in Venice that he was bringing a “packet of books” for Byron: “I am commissioned by an old friend of yours to convey Frankenstein to you, & to request that if you conjecture the name of the author that you will regard it as a secret. In fact it is Mrs S’s. It has met with considerable success in England, but she bids me say ‘that she … would regard your approbation as a more flattering testimony of its’ merit’” (SC, VI, 575; also printed in PBS Letters, II, 13).

4 May 1818 PBS’s cousin Charlotte Grove recorded in her diary that “Bysshe’s novel of Prometheus came” (Grove Diaries, pages 137 and 139 n.). (For an explanation of why the anonymously published Frankenstein had been delayed and why it might have been judged PBS’s, see Hawkins, pages 112–113.)

9 May 1818 MWS and PBS arrived in Leghorn, met Maria and John Gisborne, and apparently gave them then or shortly thereafter a copy of Frankenstein (see 21 June 1818 below).

30 May 1818 Peacock from Marlow wrote to PBS in Italy that “Since I wrote last I have received a Number of Constable’s Edinburgh Magazine, containing a notice of Frankenstein, very favourable, though not so much so as that in Blackwood’s, and not so good in any respect. It is not worth postage, but I will include it in the parcel” (Peacock Works, VIII, 192). (For this Edinburgh Magazine review [which Peacock planned to ship to the Shelleys in Italy], see [?] March 1818 above. Peacock’s remarks suggest that MWS already knew about Walter Scott’s review in Blackwood’s and that he may have even forwarded that review to the Shelleys when he “wrote last”; according to MWS’s letter to Scott on 14 June 1818, she received his review “from the publisher [Lackington] of Frankenstein,” but it is possible that Peacock was the go-between—see MWS Letters, I, 71; see also 14 June 1818 below.)

1 June 1818 The Literary Panorama, and National Register, N.S., 8 (1 June 1818): 411–414, reviewed Frankenstein as “a feeble imitation of one that was very popular in its day,—the St. Leon of Mr. Godwin. It exhibits many characteristics of the school whence it proceeds; and occasionally puts forth indications of talent; but we have been very much disappointed in the perusal of it, from our expectations having been raised too high beforehand by injudicious praises; and it exhibits a strong tendency towards materialism.” In his final paragraph, the reviewer remarked that “We have heard that this work is written by Mr. Shelley; but should be disposed to attribute it to even a less experienced writer than he is. In fact we have some idea that it is the production of a daughter of a celebrated living novelist.”

7 June 1818 Leigh Hunt’s Examiner announced that “The succeeding [for 21 June 1818] Notice will be on Frankenstein“* (page 361), but the Examiner for 30 August 1818 announced that these”Literary Notices were not resumed" (page 552). (Peck argued that PBS’s review of Frankenstein*—see [?February 1818] above—was the one Hunt intended to publish, but that argument is called into question by Hunt’s letter to MWS of [?25–27] July 1819—see that date below.)

12 June 1818 John Wilson Croker reviewed Frankenstein in the Quarterly Review 18 (January 1818): 379–385, as “a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity. … It is piously dedicated to Mr. Godwin, and is written in the spirit of his school. The dreams of insanity are embodied in the strong and striking language of the insane, and the author, notwithstanding the rationality of his preface, often leaves us in doubt whether he is not as mad as his hero. Mr. Godwin is the patriarch of a literary family, whose chief skill is in delineating the wanderings of the intellect, and which strangely delights in the most afflicting and humiliating of human miseries. His disciples are a kind of out-pensioners of Bedlam, and, like ‘Mad Bess’ or ‘Mad Tom,’ are occasionally visited with paroxysms of genius and fits of expression, which make sober-minded people wonder and shudder …¶ … The author has powers, both of conception and language, which employed in a happier direction might, perhaps, (we speak dubiously,) give him a name among those whose writings amuse or amend their fellow-creatures.” (For the publication date of this January 1818 review, see 20 June 1818 below; for a photofacsimile of this review, see Romantics Reviewed, II, 764–767; for partial reprintings of this review, see Grylls, page 316; 1818 Macdonald, pages 312–313; 1818 Hunter, pages 187–190.)

14 June 1818 MWS in Bagni di Lucca wrote to Walter Scott to thank him for the favourable notice he wrote in Blackwood’s (see 20 March/1 April 1818 above) and “to express the pleasure I receive from approbation of so high a value as yours. ¶ Mr. Shelley soon after its publication took the liberty of sending you a copy but as both he and I thought in a manner which would prevent you from supposing that he was the author we were surprised therefore to see him mentioned in the notice as the probable author,—I am anxious to prevent your continuing in the mistake of supposing Mr. Shelley guilty of a juvenile attempt of mine; to which—from its being written at an early age, I abstained from putting my name—and from respect to those persons from whom I bear it. I have therefore kept it concealed except from a few friends” (MWS Letters, I, 71).

Peacock from Marlow wrote to PBS in Bagni di Lucca that “Frankenstein is reviewed in the new Number of the Quarterly, but in no very friendly style,” that the “Gentleman’s Magazine has a brief commendatory notice of Frankenstein,” and that “All parties concur in praising the scenery of Frankenstein” (Peacock Works, VIII, 194–196). (For these reviews [which Peacock planned to ship to the Shelleys in another parcel], see [?] April and 12 June 1818 above.)

20 June 1818 William Godwin from London wrote to MWS in Bagni di Lucca that he saw “a fortnight ago, an announcement that ‘Frankenstein’ would be reviewed in the next ‘Quarterly Review,’ to be published June 12. I was therefore anxious to see the numbers, lest they might mention names, or say anything else that might be painful to me. But the article is very innocent. They say that the gentleman who has written the book is a man of talents,” but that he employs his powers in a way disagreeable to them. They do not, however, pretend to find anything blasphemous in the story" (Shelley and Mary, II, 290A).

21 June 1818 Maria Gisborne, writing from Leghorn to MWS in Bagni di Lucca, humorously remarked that she “would not give [Mr. Bilby] ‘Frankenstein’; as he is a solitary man, we were fearful of the effect it might produce on his imagination!” (Gisborne & Williams, page 52).

1, 2 July 1818 London Times twice advertised Frankenstein (page 4, column 4), thereby indicating that Lackington and/or individual booksellers still had unsold copies of the novel in quires or in boards—for even a later advertisement, see 15, 26 August 1818 below.

5 July 1818 Peacock from Marlow wrote to PBS in Bagni di Lucca that he had “sent off a small box directed to Mr. Gisborne for you, containing … the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews [and] Constable’s Magazine, which contains a notice of Frankenstein” (Peacock Works, VIII, 196). (For these reviews in the Quarterly and in Constable’s Edinburgh Magazine, see [?] March and 12 June 1818 above.)

25 July 1818 PBS from Bagni di Lucca wrote to Godwin in London that “I hear that poor Mary’s book is attacked most violently in the Quarterly review—We have heard some praise of it, & among others an article of Walter Scott’s in Blackwoods Magazine” (PBS Letters, II, 23).

On the same day PBS wrote to Peacock in Marlow that “Frankenstein seems to have been well received; for although the unfriendly criticism of the Quarterly is an evil for it, yet it proves that it is read in some considerable degree, and it would be difficult for them, with any appearance of fairness, to deny it merit altogether” (PBS Letters, II, 26).

15, 26 August 1818 The Morning Chronicle on these dates (both page 1, column 5) published advertisements for Frankenstein in which was quoted part of Walter Scott’s review from Blackwood’s. These advertisements, like those of 1 and 2 July 1818 (see dates above) in the Times, suggest that there were still copies of Frankenstein for sale by Lackington and some other booksellers.37

[?19] August 1818 PBS from Florence wrote to MWS in Bagni di Lucca, asked if she were “very lonely,” and indicated that he would be “flattered … above all by seeing {such} fruits of my absence as were produced when {we were} at Geneva” (PBS Letters, II, 33),38 thereby confirming that MWS had begun writing her story about Victor Frankenstein while PBS and Byron took their boat tour around Lake Geneva (see 22–30 June 1816 above).

30 August 1818 Peacock from Marlow wrote to PBS in Italy that at the Egham races he “met on the course a great number of my old acquaintance, by the reading portion of whom I was asked a multitude of questions concerning Frankenstein and its author. It seems to be universally known and read. The criticism of the Quarterly, though unfriendly, contained many admissions of its merit, and must on the whole have done it service” (Peacock Works, VIII, 203).

24 September 1818 MWS and PBS’s daughter Clara Everina Shelley died in Venice.

24 October 1818 MWS entered in her Este Journal that she “read the Quarterly” (MWS Journal, I, 233), namely, the January 1818 issue of the Quarterly Review (published in June) that contained Croker’s review of Frankenstein (see 12 June and 5 July 1818 above).

12 November 1818 Leigh Hunt from London wrote to the Shelleys in Italy that he “forgot, in my box-letter, to allude to the criticism in the Quart. Rev. upon Marina’s [MWS’s] book. Upon the whole, I congratulate her on it, as far as they understand her” (SC, VI, 740; also printed in Hunt Correspondence, I, 125).

20 December 1818 MWS entry of “Correct Frankenstein” in her Naples Journal (MWS Journal, I, 245) suggests that she was emending the text in one of her copies of 1818, possibly in 1818 Thomas, the annotated copy of Frankenstein that MWS eventually gave to a Mrs. Thomas in Genoa in or before July 1823.

1 April 1819 John William Polidori’s vampire story that had been conceived during the Geneva summer of 1816 was published under the title of “The Vampyre: A Tale by Lord Byron” in Henry Colburn’s New Monthly Magazine XI (1 April 1819): 193–206, and was prefaced by an “Extract of a Letter from Geneva, with Anecdotes of Lord Byron, &c.” (most likely written by John Mitford). Both tale and preface were also published in book form by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, and in both published versions the preface writer rehearsed the circumstances of the ghost-story competition: he named his source as “the Countess of Breuss, a Russian lady,” who had been visited that summer by Polidori; he freed Byron “from one imputation attached to him—of having in his house two sisters as the partakers of his revels”; he explained that these two sisters merely visited Diodati and that it was the atheist “Mr. Percy Bysshe Shelley [who] resided with Miss M. W. Godwin and Miss Clermont, (the daughters of the celebrated Mr. Godwin)”; he summarized the Christabel incident (see 18 June 1816 above); and he indicated that the Countess of Breuss “had in her possession the outline of each” of the stories “undertaken by Lord B., the physician [Polidori] and Miss M. W. Godwin,” the last story footnoted to have “already appeared under the title of ‘Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus.’” (For more information and for Godwin’s response to this prefatory letter, see 3 and 6 April 1819 below.)

3 and 6 April 1819 William Godwin, angered by the prefatory remarks about himself and MWS, wrote two letters on 3 April to the publisher William Sherwood to object to the “passage full of the grossest & most unmanly reflections on my daughter” and to recommend that the passages about MWS and Claire Clairmont be canceled from the book. After being informed by Sherwood that he had published The Vampyre for Henry Colburn, Godwin complained to Colburn in a letter of 6 April and then met with one of Colburn’s assistants in order to arrange that the offensive passages be canceled.39

6 April 1819 In answering Leigh Hunt’s letter of 9 March 1819 (see SC, VI, 790–793), MWS in Rome referred to her novel when she quipped that she had “written a book in <favor> defence of Polypheme—have I not?” (MWS Letters, I, 91).

30 April 1819 Leigh Hunt in a letter to his fellow poet, John Hamilton Reynolds, indicated that he had “also requested him [his nephew Henry L. Hunt] to send you Frankenstein, which happened to be in his hands” (SC, VI, 806).

15 May 1819 Byron from Venice wrote to his publisher John Murray in London that “Mary Godwin (now Mrs. Shelley) wrote ‘Frankenstein’—which you [in Murray’s Quarterly Review—see 12 June 1818 above] have reviewed thinking it Shelley’s—methinks it is a wonderful work for a Girl of nineteen—not nineteen indeed—at that time.—I enclose you the beginning of mine—by which you will see how far it resembles Mr. Colburn’s publication.—If you choose to publish it in the Edinburgh Magazine (Wilsons & Blackwoods) you may—stating why, & with such explanatory proem as you please.—I never went on with it—as you will perceive by the date [17 June 1816—see that date above]” (Byron L&J, VI, 126).

7 June 1819 MWS and PBS’s son William Shelley died in Rome.

19 July 1819 Four days after Cantos I and II of Byron’s Don Juan were published, William Hone published Don Juan: WithAnecdotes of his Lordship’sResidenceat GenevaIncludingA Sketch of the Vampyre Family (London: William Wright, 1819), a parody that demonstrates how much Frankenstein was part of the public consciousness after The Vampyre scandal: in the parody, Lord Harold went to Geneva and

     In rival conclave there and dark divan
          He met and mingled with the Vampyre crew
     Who hate the virtues and the form of man,
          And strive to bring fresh monsters into view;
     Who mock the inscrutable Almighty’s plan;
          By seeking truth and order to subdue—
     Scribblers, who fright the novel reading train
     With mad creations of the unsettled brain.

     There Frankenstein was hatched—the wretch abhorred,
          Whom shuddering Sh—y saw in horrid dream
     Plying his task where human bones are stored,
          And there the Vampyre quaffed the living stream
     From beauty’s veins—such sights could joy afford
          To this strange coterie, glorying in each theme,
     That wakes disgust in other minds—lord harold
     Sung wildly too, but none knew what he carolled.

In the notes to this passage, Hone rebuked “that knot of scribblers, male and female, with weak nerves, and disordered brains, from whom have sprung those disgusting compounds of unnatural conception, bad taste, and absurdity, entitled ‘Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,’ the ‘Vampyre,’ &c., &c.”40

[?25–27] July 1819 Leigh Hunt in London wrote to MWS in Leghorn that “That exquisite passage about the cottagers [the De Laceys] shews what you could do. Besides, to tell you the truth, I want an opportunity of speaking about your writings, having delayed criticising your novel so long for want of well knowing how to handle it, that I know not what to be<—> at in order to shew you what I really feel. This is the whole mystery, I assure you,—if ever you have a thought about it,—& not my old thief of a friend, delay, however he might have insisted on having a hand in the matter too” (SC, VI, 845; also printed in Hunt Correspondence, I, 133). (These remarks, which address Hunt’s failure to review Frankenstein in the Examiner, suggest that PBS’s review of Frankenstein was not intended for the Examiner—see [?February 1818] and 7 June 1818 above as well as 10 November 1832 below.)

5 October 1819 MWS from Florence wrote to Maria Gisborne in Leghorn, asking her to send a copy of Frankenstein in a parcel of books to “Mrs. Mason” (Lady Mount Cashell) in Pisa (MWS Letters, I, 110). (This request and the remainder of the letter suggest that MWS had left behind one or more copies of Frankenstein [together with other books] in Leghorn, when the Shelleys departed for Florence on 30 September 1819.)

[21] July 1821 First translation of MWS’s novel: Frankenstein, ou le Prométhée moderne, traduit de 1’anglais par J. S. [Jules Saladin], 3 vols. (Paris: Corréard, 1821). (This translation is cited by Palacio, page 652; the date is to be found in Bibliographie de la France 10 [1821]: 383–384.)

8 July 1822 PBS drowned after his boat sank in the Gulf of Spezia.

19 October 1822 MWS recalled in her Genoa Journal that “incapacity & timidity always prevented my mingling in the nightly conversations of Diodati—they were as it were entirely tête-a-tête between my Shelley & Albe [Byron]” (MWS Journal, II, 439), thereby supporting MWS’s remark in the 1831 Introduction that “Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener” (page ix).

18 February 1823 William Godwin from London wrote to MWS in Albaro that “Your talents are truly extraordinary. ‘Frankenstein’ is universally known, and, though it can never be a book for vulgar reading, is everywhere respected. It is the most wonderful work to have been written at twenty years of age that I ever heard of” (Shelley and Mary, IV, 915).41 (By “written at twenty years of age,” Godwin apparently meant published at that age: MWS began Frankenstein when she was eighteen; she finished the Fair Copy of the novel when she was nineteen; but, technically, she appears to have made her last proof additions to the novel in October 1817, by which time she had turned twenty.)

[?July] 1823 MWS presented her personal and corrected copy of Frankenstein to a Mrs. Thomas in Genoa, inscribed “Mrs. Thomas / From her friend–the Author / Mary Shelley.” (Mrs. Thomas followed MWS’s inscription with “being the copy she made her corrections, and additions in, for the Second Edition of –Genoa, 1823.—” [see photofacsimile of the inscribed half-title page in 1818 Rieger, page 1; see also page xxii for the full text of Mrs. Thomas’s later remarks in this edition now housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City].)

22 July 1823 William Godwin from London wrote to MWS (who was preparing to leave Italy at this time) that “It is a curious circumstance that a play is just announced, to be performed at the English Opera House in the Strand next Monday, entitled, Presumption, or the Fate of Frankenstein. I know not whether it will succeed. If it does, it will be some sort of feather in the cap of the author of the novel, a recommendation in your future negociacions with booksellers” (quoted in Forry, page 3; see 28 July 1823 below). (This and other Frankenstein plays did succeed in 1823, resulting in new attention to MWS when she returned to England on 25 August 1823—see especially theatrical news in the periodical press, July through October 1823.)

28 July 1823 Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein opened at the Lyceum Theatre (English Opera House) in London for a run of 37 performances (Forry, page 121; see also pages 135–160 for a text of this play).42

29 July 1823 William Godwin wrote to MWS that “Frankenstein was acted last night for the first time …. I have therefore ordered 500 copies of the novel to be published … , the whole profits of which, without a penny deduction, shall be your own” <http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/leighhunt/id/5208>.

11 August 1823 William Godwin entered in his Diary for this date “Frankenstein, 2d . Edition,” referring to the second London edition (“A New Edition”) of Frankenstein that was published in two volumes, 12mo., by G. and W. B. Whittaker in 500 copies and priced at 14s. in boards (this publication date is confirmed by an advertisement in the Morning Chronicle on 11 August 1823, page 1, column 3). (All of the advertisements as well as the title page named the author as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The copy text for this reset 1823 edition was 1818,43 most likely as corrected by Godwin. Murray, “Changes,” pages 320–323, lists 114 substantive textual variants in 1823, and 1818 Crook records 9 additional variants [see page xcvi].)

14 August 1823 MWS from Paris wrote to Leigh and Marianne Hunt in Florence that Horace Smith had just visited but “does not know much English News, except that they brought out Frankenstein at the Lyceum and vivified the Monster in such a manner as caused the ladies to faint away & a hubbub to ensue—however they diminished the horrors in the sequel, & it is having a run” (MWS Letters, I, 369)—see 28 July 1823 above.

18 August 1823 MWS from Paris wrote to Leigh Hunt in Florence that “Going to the fountain head of the knowledge [to the playwright James Kenney, who apparently was the source of Horace Smith’s information on 14 August] I found that it was not true that the ladies were frightened at the first appearance of Frankenstein—K. says that the first appearance of the Monster from F.’s labratory down a dark staircase had a fine effect—but the piece fell off afterwards—though it is having a run” (MWS Letters, I, 374).

Henry M. Milner’s Frankenstein; or, The Demon of Switzerland opened at the Royal Coburg Theatre in London for a run of eight performances (Forry, page 121).

29 August 1823 MWS, having returned to London on 25 August 1823, went to the Lyceum to see Peake’s Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (see 9 September 1823 below).

1 September 1823Humgumption; or Dr. Frankenstein and the Hobgoblin of Hoxton opened at the New Surrey Theatre for a run of six performances (Forry, page 121).

Presumption and the Blue Demon opened at Davis’s Royal Amphitheatre for a run of two performances (Forry, page 121).

9 September 1823 MWS from London wrote to Leigh Hunt in Florence that “lo & behold! I found myself famous!—Frankenstein had prodigious success as a drama & was about to be repeated for the 23rd night at the English opera house. The play bill amused me extremely, for in the list of dramatis personae; came, ——– by Mr. T. Cooke: this nameless mode of naming the un{n}ameable is rather good. On Friday Aug. 29th Jane My father William & I went to the theatre to see it. Wallack looked very well as F [Frankenstein]—he is at the beginning full of hope & expectation—at the end of the Ist Act. the stage represents a room with a staircase leading to F workshop—he goes to it and you see his light at a small window, through which a frightened servant peeps, who runs off in terror when F. exclaims ”It lives!“ — Presently F himself rushes in horror & trepidation from the room and while still expressing his agony & terror —— throws down the door of the laboratory, leaps the staircase & presents his unearthly & monstrous person on the stage. The story is not well managed—but Cooke played ——–’s part extremely well—his seeking as it were for support—his trying to grasp at the sounds he heard—all indeed he does was well imagined & executed. I was much amused, & it appeared to excite a breathless eagerness in the audience—it was a third piece a scanty pit filled at half price—& all stayed till it was over. They continue to play it even now … ¶On the strength of the drama my father had published for my benefit a new edition of F.” (MWS Letters, I, 378–379).44 (For information on the play and on the new edition, see 22 July, 28 July, 29 July, and 11 August 1823 above.)

11 September 1823London Literary Gazette reported that the English Opera House’s “Frankenstein continues to drag on its spectral existence and to scare the children” (page 590).

20 October 1823 Richard Brinsley Peake’s Another Piece of Presumption opened at the Adelphi Theatre for a run of nine performances (Forry, page 121; see also pages 161–176 for a text of this play).

14 November 1823 MWS in London wrote to Sir Richard Phillips that “I have great respect for that faculty we carry about us called Mind—and I fear that no Frankenstein can so arrange the gases as to be able to make any combination of them produce thought or even life” (MWS Letters, I, 401).

26 November 1823 Henry Crabb Robinson noted in his diary after taking tea and supping at Godwin’s that MWS “looks elegant and sickly and young. One would not suppose she was the author of ‘Frankenstein’” (Robinson Diary, I, 494).

16 March 1824 In a debate on the “Amelioration of the Condition of the Slave Population of the West Indies” in the House of Commons, George Canning remarked that “In dealing with the negro, Sir, we must remember that we are dealing with a being possessing the form and strength of a man, but the intellect only of a child. To turn him loose in the manhood of his physical strength, in the maturity of his physical passions, but in the infancy of his uninstructed reason, would be to raise up a creature resembling the splendid fiction of a recent romance; the hero of which constructs a human form, with all the corporeal capabilities of man, and with the thews and sinews of a giant; but being unable to impart to the work of his hands a perception of right and wrong, he finds too late that he has only created a more than mortal power of doing mischief, and himself recoils from the monster which he has made” (Hansard, column 1103).45 (For MWS’s reaction to these remarks, which somewhat distort the meaning of Frankenstein, see 22 March 1824 and 20 August 1827 below.)

22 March 1824 MWS in London wrote to Edward John Trelawny in Greece that the House of Commons was “introducing some ammelioration in the state of the slaves in some parts of the West Indies—during the debate on that subject [George] Canning paid a compliment to Frankenstein in a manner sufficiently pleasing to me” (MWS Letters, I, 417). (For Canning’s remark and for MWS’s later reaction, see 16 March 1824 above and 20 August 1827 below.)

31 July 182446 The reviewer(s) in “The Anniversary” section of Knight’s Quarterly Magazine 3 (August 1824): 195–199, used MWS’s latest novel Valperga as an excuse to offer an extended analysis of Frankenstein, which despite its “faults of … occasional extravagance and over-writing” was “the best instance of natural passions applied to supernatural events … ¶ But whence arises the extreme inferiority of Valperga? I can account for it only by supposing that Shelley wrote the first, though it was attributed to his wife,—and that she really wrote the last. Still I should not, from internal evidence, suppose Frankenstein to be the work of Shelley. It has much of his poetry and vigour—but it is wholly free from those philosophical opinions from which scarcely any of his works are free, and for which there are many fair openings in Frankenstein. It is equally to be observed that there are no religious reflections—and that there are many circumstances in which a mind at all religiously inclined would not have failed to have expressed some sentiments of that nature. It may be, that Mrs. Shelley wrote Frankenstein—but, knowing that its fault was extravagance, determined to be careful and correct in her next work; and, thence, as so many do from the same cause, became cold and common-place. At all events, the difference of the two books is very remarkable.” (For a photofacsimile of this review and for the names of some of the staff writers, see Romantics Reviewed, II, 498–500 and 491; for a partial reprinting, see 1818 Hunter, pages 197–200.)

10 November 1824 MWS from Kentish Town wrote to John Cam Hobhouse that “the Preface to Frankenstein proves that that story was conceived before Lord Byron’s and Shelley’s tour round the lake [see 22–30 June 1816 above], and that [Monk] Lewis did not arrive in Geneva until some time after” (MWS Letters, I, 455). (MWS was responding to Hobhouse’s****request for information in his defense of Byron against the slanders and errors in recent books by R. C. Dallas [Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron, 1824] and by Thomas Medwin [Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824]. Hobhouse thanked MWS in a letter of 12 November 1824 [Shelley and Mary, IV, 1188] and used her information to correct Medwin in his review of these two books in Westminster Review III [January 1825]: 1–34.47)

13 December 1824 Frank-in-Steam; or, The Modern Promise to Pay opened at the Olympic Theatre for a run of four performances (Forry, page 121; see pages 177–186 for a text of this play).

15 November 1825 MWS from Kentish Town wrote to Charles Ollier (who worked for the publisher Henry Colburn) that “The title of my book is to be simply ‘The Last Man, a Romance, by the Author of Frankenstein’” (MWS Letters, I, 504), an identification that MWS used for many of her other publications. (The “Author of Frankenstein” was undoubtedly good for sales, but MWS’s father-in-law, Sir Timothy Shelley, had also made it a condition of her repayable allowance that she would not bring PBS’s name before the public—this prohibition seems to have affected the way some of her own works were identified.)

4 April 1826 Date of an apparent re-issue of the 2d edition of the 1823 Frankenstein (see 11 August 1823 above) by Henry Colburn and priced at 14s. (subscribed at 9s.l0d.)—see Colburn’s “Handlist of Publications Issued From New Burlington Street and From Conduit Street From January 1818 To August 1829,” Bentley Archives, University of Illinois Library (microfilm reel #10); see also advertisement of “Just Published, … Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. 2 vols. 12s.” at the end of MWS The Last Man (London: Henry Colburn, 1826), III, 352. (Because no copy of this [1826] Frankenstein with a new Colburn title page has ever surfaced, it is likely that Colburn merely purchased and sold Whittaker’s remaining and unaltered stock of the 1823 novel—together with the stock of Valperga, which was also listed and advertised with Frankenstein. However, a collation of multiple copies of the 1823 Frankenstein might yield a different conclusion, namely, that there is a distinct [1826] text that merely masquerades as an 1823 one.)

10 June 1826 Jean Toussaint Merle and Antoine Nicolas Béraud’s Le Monstre et le magicien opened at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris for a run of 94 performances (Forry, page 121).48

11 June 1826 MWS from Kentish Town wrote to the American playwright John Howard Payne in Paris and asked “How goes on Frankenstein of Porte St Martini [sic]?” (MWS Letters, I, 521). (For additional information on this production of Le Monstre [with the actor Thomas Potter Cooke], see Forry, pages 11–12.)

3 July 1826 Henry M. Milner’s The Man and the Monster; or, The Fate of Frankenstein opened at the Royal Coburg Theatre for a run of eight performances (Forry, page 121; see also pages 187–204 for a text of Milner’s Frankenstein; or, The Man and the Monster).

9 October 1826 John Kerr’s The Monster and the Magician; or, The Fate of Frankenstein opened at the New Royal West London Theatre for a run of [?four] performances (Forry, page 122; see also pages 205–226 for a text of this play, an “Original Translation from the French”).

16 January [?1827] MWS from Kentish Town wrote to [?Charles Ollier] (who worked for the publisher Henry
Colburn): “I suppose there is no chance now of his [Colburn] purchasing the Copy right of Frankenstein” (MWS
Letters, I, 539). This remark about Colburn not “now” purchasing the copyright suggests that it may be related
to Colburn having recently purchased the remaining stock of Whittaker’s 1823 edition [see 4 April 1826 above].)

20 August 1827 MWS from Sompting wrote to Teresa Guiccioli in Ravenna about George Canning: “Sapete che ha lodato il Mio Frankenstein nel House of Commons nei termini onorevole—gratissimi a me” (MWS Letters, I, 564; translated on page 566 as “Did you know that he praised my Frankenstein in honorable terms in the House of Commons—extremely pleasing to me”). (For Canning’s remark and for MWS’s earlier reaction, see 16 March and 22 March 1824 above.)


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18 February 1831 MWS in London wrote to Charles Ollier (who now worked as the chief literary adviser for the new partnership of the publishers Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley at New Burlington Street) and asked “Have they any idea of publishing Frankenstein in their edition” (MWS Letters, II, 128), that is, in the new Bentley’s “Standard Novels” series.

30 June 1831 MWS in London wrote to [?Charles Ollier] that “You made me an offer from Mess. Colburn & Bentley concerning the publication of Frankenstein to which I acceded. Is it their intention to conclude that affair? If it is, you would much oblige me by <tell> communicating with me about it as <you> soon as you can—You promised me so to do early this week—<If> It is of consequence to both parties that there should be no further delay” (MWS Letters, III, 415).

3 September 1831 The Morning Chronicle (page 1, column 2), in an advertisement for Jane Porter’s The Scottish Chiefs, announced that “Mrs. Shelley’s popular Romance, Frankenstein, Revised by the Author, with a New Introduction explanatory of the origin of the Story; and the Castle of Otranto, with a Life of Horace Walpole, written by Sir Walter Scott, will appear in an early volume.” (This was the earliest advertisement for the forthcoming 1831 edition that was published in the Standard Novels series issued by the publishers Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. [Colburn’s own Court Journal repeated the substance of this advertisement on 10, 17, and 24 September, pages 632, 648, 664.] When Frankenstein was eventually published in #9 of Colburn and Bentley’s Standard Novels series on 31 October 1831 [see that date below], the volume did not include Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto; instead, Standard Novels #9 yoked together Frankenstein and Volume I of Frederick Schiller’s The Ghost-Seer [Volume II of which occupied the Standard Novels #10].)49

28 September 1831 MWS in London wrote to Charles Ollier and “should so like to know what is doing & when I am to receive the 12 copies &c if you will not call on me I must on you Which is not right” (MWS Letters, II, 145). (This request for the twelve copies promised to the author by the publishers could refer either to 1831 Frankenstein or to Trelawny’s Adventures of a Younger Son that MWS was also seeing through the press at this time.)

8 October 1831 Colburn’s Court Journal (page 696) repeated its earlier advertisements of The Scottish Chiefs (which included the announcement of Frankenstein), but this time the MWS novel was to “appear on the 1st of November” (see, however, 31 October 1831 below).

10 October 1831 The Morning Chronicle (page 1, column 4) once again advertised The Scottish Chiefs with the announcement of the forthcoming Frankenstein, but this time with the new information that “The Castle of Otranto is, for the present, postponed” and that it would be replaced by “The Ghost Seer, by Schiller, with a Biographical & Critical Sketch.”

According to Edmund Ollier, the son of Shelley’s publisher Charles Ollier, “Mrs. Shelley, when a reprint of her ‘Frankenstein’ was coming out in Colburn and Bentley’s ‘Standard Novels,’ and some further matter was required to make up the volume, said she would be content with nothing else than ‘Inesilla,’ though in the end she was obliged to be satisfied with a translation of Schiller’s ‘Ghost-seer’” (Ollier, page 249). (Charles Ollier’s supernatural tale had been published in his Inesilla, Or the Tempter, A Romance; with Other Tales [London: E. Lloyd; Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1824].)

15 October 1831 MWS apparently wrote or finished her “Introduction” (signed “London,October 15. 1831.”) to the 1831 Frankenstein on this date.

The Morning Chronicle (page 4, column 5) published a “paragraph” (i.e., a “puff” probably paid for by the publishers Colburn and Bentley—Colburn was master of the “puff” or advertisement masquerading as news) that expressed great pleasure that Schiller’s The Ghost Seer would be published with Frankenstein in “The Standard Novels”: “A more attractive book could hardly be formed than will be produced by a union of two stories, which, as is the case with Frankenstein and The Ghost-Seer, have each had such marked effect on society.”

22 October 1831 MWS’s Introduction to her forthcoming 1831 Frankenstein was separately “pre-published” in Colburn’s Court Journal, 22 October 1831, page 724.

29 October 1831 The Morning Chronicle (page 1, column 3) advertised “In small 8vo. neatly bound and beautifully embellished, price only 6s., Standard Novels, No. IX.; containing Mrs. Shelley’s celebrated Romance of Frankenstein, With a new Introduction, explanatory of the origin of the Story, by the Author, and containing original Anecdotes of Lord Byron, &c.; and the First Part of the Ghost Seer, by Schiller, with a Biographical & Critical Sketch.” (See similar advertisements in Athenæum for 29 October [page 711, column 2] and in Colburn’s Court Journal for 29 October [page 744].)

The Morning Chronicle (page 4, column 5) also, in another paragraph or “puff” probably paid for by Colburn and Bentley, quoted Thomas Moore’s Life of Byron on “the origin of the celebrated Romance of Frankenstein” and concluded that “The most memorable result, indeed, of their story-telling compact, was Mrs. Shelley’s powerful romance of ‘Frankenstein’—one of those original conceptions that take hold of the public mind at once, and for ever.”

31 October 1831 The “revised, corrected, and illustrated [two engravings]” London edition of Frankenstein (with a new Introduction) was published “this day” according to an advertisement in the Morning Chronicle (page 1, column 3). It was published in one volume in small 8vo by Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley (and by Bell and Bradfute in Edinburgh; and by Cumming in Dublin) in 4020 stereotyped copies, each “neatly bound” and priced at 6s.; according to the “Estimate of Profit & Loss on Standard Novels to 31st Augst 1832,” 107 copies had been given gratis (apparently to reviewers and to MWS), 3170 had been sold, 743 had not been sold (520 in quires and 223 bound), MWS had earned £30 by selling her copyright, and the publishers had made a profit of £68—see handwritten Colburn list in Bentley Archives, University of Illinois Library (microfilm reel #10); see also published Bentley List, page 96. (This stereotyped 1831 edition was reprinted with new title pages in 1832, in 1839, and in 1849.)

MWS concluded her 1831 Introduction with a brief explanation of her “revised” and “corrected” text: “I will add but one word as to the alterations I have made. They are principally those of style. I have changed no portion of the story, nor introduced any new ideas or circumstances. I have mended the language where it was so bald as to interfere with the interest of the narrative; and these changes occur almost exclusively in the beginning of the first volume. Throughout they are entirely confined to such parts as are mere adjuncts to the story, leaving the core and substance of it untouched” (page xii). (For nearly complete lists of “these [substantive textual] changes” between the 1818 and the 1831 editions, see the collation in 1818 Rieger [pages 230–259 and page (288)] and in 1818 Macdonald [pages 317–359]; for a shorter collation that is prefaced by a summary of the type of changes involved, see 1818 Butler [pages 199–228]; finally, for the most comprehensive collation, one that incorporates the autograph corrections in 1818 Thomas and that also includes substantive variants in 1823 as well as 1831, see 1818 Crook [pages 182–227].50)

7 November 1831 The Morning Chronicle (page 4, column 5) reported in another paragraph (probably another “puff” from Colburn and Bentley) that “The demand for the ninth Number of The Standard Novels (containing Frankenstein and the first part of The Ghost Seer), having been so great as to absorb on the first day the whole supply, we are requested to inform those who were disappointed in their applications for that volume, that another impression has been produced, and copies may be had either at the publishers, or at the retail booksellers.”

19 November 1831 London Literary Gazette reviewed the new Standard Novels edition of Frankenstein as follows: “Vigorous, terrible, and with its interest sustained to the last, Frankenstein is certainly one of the most original works that ever proceeded from a female pen. The merits our feminine writers possess, are tact, feeling, the thoughtfulness born of feeling, a keen perception of the ridiculous, or a touching appeal to sympathy. Not one of all these is the characteristic of the work before us; it appeals to fear, not love; and, contrary to the general matériel in the writings of women, has less of the heart in it than the mind. The character of the enthusiastic young student, with whom knowledge is a passion, is powerfully drawn; and we know, in all our imaginative literature, few scenes more appalling than where Frankenstein is pursuing his monstrous and vindictive enemy over the frozen deserts of the ocean. We remember being greatly struck with this work on its first appearance: and our second reading has revived all our early impressions: the romantic excitement of its pages well repays their perusal. We should recommend them on the same principle that physicians prescribe alteratives. A clever frontispiece represents the moment when Frankenstein rushes away in horror from the frightful shape to which his science has at length communicated life” (page 740).

10 November 1832 First publication of PBS’s review of Frankenstein in Athenaeum (page 730)—see PBS Prose, I, 282–284, 489–492; see also [?February 1818] above.

[?1–10 February 1833] MWS in London wrote to Charles Ollier and asked “if there is another real <introd> edition of Frankenstein—that is if it goes to the press again—will you remember that I have a short passage to add to the Introduction. Do not fail me with regard to this—it will only be a few lines—& those not disagreable to [the publishers] C. & B.—but the contrary—” (MWS Letters, II, 129). (In this letter that I have redated from 1831 to 1833,51 MWS was apparently referring to the 1831 “Introduction” to which she wished to add a short passage if a “real” edition went “to the press again” [as opposed to the reprint of the stereotyped 1831 edition that came out in 1832, in which only the title page was new]. We can only conjecture what MWS might have added—perhaps a quotation from PBS’s review of Frankenstein that had recently been published on 10 November 1832?)

5 November 1838 MWS in London replied to William Hazlitt, Jr. (who apparently inquired if he might republish Frankenstein in his Romancist, and Novelist’s Library: The Best Works of the Best Authors) that “Bentley & Colburn bought the Copy right of Frankenstein when it was printed in the Standard Novels. Frankenstein was first published in 181<9>8 I think so perhaps the book is common property—but I do not know what the laws are” (MWS Letters, II, 299–300).

[?November-December 1839] MWS from Putney wrote to Charles Ollier and asked, “Could Mr. Bentley also let me have a copy of Frankenstein published in the standard Novels?” (MWS Letters, II, 332).

26 December 1849 William and Robert Brough’s Frankenstein; or, The Model Man opened at Adelphi Theatre for a run of 54 performances (Forry, page 122; see pages 227–250 for a text of this play).52

1 February 1851 MWS died at Chester Square in London at the age of 53. Whatever Frankenstein manuscripts MWS possessed at that time, if any, would have passed to her only surviving child, Sir Percy Florence Shelley (1819–1899), and thereafter to his widow Jane, Lady Shelley (1820–1899), who kept their collection in their house at Boscombe, near Bournemouth. However, in the absence of any detailed inventory of MWS’s 1851 bequest, the entry below for 7 June 1887 suggests an alternative or, at least, a supplementary provenance for the arrival of the Frankenstein manuscripts at Boscombe.

7 June 1887 Richard Garnett mentioned in a letter to Sir Percy Florence Shelley (Bodleian Dep. c. 767/5a, item 5) that he had earlier purchased papers for him from Mr. [A. H.] Bradford that included “A portion of the MS. of Frankenstein, and the fragment of your father’s Chancery paper” and that had come to him “from a picture-cleaner named Godwin” (this information is taken from Barker-Benfield, Guitar, page 68). (Nothing else is known about either Bradford, Godwin the picture-cleaner, or the size of the Frankenstein “portion,” but the fragmentary draft in MWS’s hand of the Chancery declaration is also now in the Bodleian Library [MS. Shelley adds. c. 5, folios 96-97] and derives likewise from the Boscombe collection. But the Garnett evidence must imply that part if not all of the surviving Frankenstein manuscripts had already left MWS’s hands at the time of her death. Although parts of the Fair Copy might have remained behind in the hands of the printer Macdonald or the publisher Lackington, the earlier Draft Notebooks should not have left the author’s hands unless discarded, lost, or stolen. It is possible that the Draft Notebooks [probably already disbound] were among the manuscripts the Shelleys left behind at Marlow in 1818 and that the picture-cleaner Godwin came upon them there or through some other association with the Godwin/Shelley families [the picture-cleaner’s name may be more than a coincidence].)

1899 The remnants of the Frankenstein Notebooks passed through Lady Shelley’s bequest to the Scarlett family (the Barons Abinger) and were then deposited in the Bodleian Library by the 8th Lord Abinger in 1974 and 1976.


  1. This Chronology attempts to record most of the direct references to Frankenstein in the extant writings of MWS, PBS, and her immediate family, but it selectively records other things: e.g., not all but only the most important advertisements (usually, the first ones) for Frankenstein; and only some of her reading of literary works (e.g., Paradise Lost) that influenced the text of her novel. For quotations from other published sources, I have followed the editors’ stylistic conventions: {Word or letter omitted}, <Deletion restored>, and [Word torn from text or otherwise obliterated] in MWS Letters; {word or letter missing because of hole or tear in manuscript} in PBS Letters; and <Deletion editorially restored> in Clairmont Correspondence.

  2. The first day of the 1814 meeting and the probability of the earlier meeting in 1812 must be inferred from Godwin’s Diary and other evidence. Because PBS and his wife Harriet Westbrook Shelley dined at the Godwins’ house on 11 November 1812, the day after MWS returned to London from an extended stay in Scotland, it is likely but not certain that she met PBS at that time. MWS was also away in Scotland during June 1813-March 1814, and the earliest day that she could have met PBS in 1814 was when he dined with her father on 5 May. Although PBS also called on Godwin on 6 May, other evidence may suggest that MWS and PBS considered 5 May as “Our day” or an anniversary of their meeting (see Matthews, page 247).

  3. Because Claire Clairmont at this time may have been pregnant with Byron’s child (her daughter Allegra) and because she blamed Byron for Allegra’s death in 1822, this phrasing about “Creator” and “Creature” has other sad resonances.

  4. The volumes in question were Fantasmagoriana, ou recueil d’histoires d’apparitions de spectres, revenans, fantômes etc; Traduit de l’allemand, par un amateur, 2 vols. (Paris: Lenormant et Schoell, 1812), Jean Baptiste Benoit Eyriès’ translation into French of two volumes of the five-volume German Der Gespensterbuch. For an English translation of these stories, see Tales of the Dead (London: White, Cochrane, & Co., 1813); for a reprint of this translation, see Tales of the Dead: The Ghost Stories of the Villa Diodati, ed. Terry Hale (Chislehurst: The Gothic Society at The Gargoyle’s Head Press, 1992).

  5. Matthews and Everest (PBS Poems, I, 518–519) follow Rogers (PBS Works, II, 357) and conjecture that PBS’s poetical fragment, “A shovel of his ashes,” “may originate in the ghost-story competition between Byron, S., Mary S. and Polidori at the Villa Diodati proposed on 16 June 1816”; but Erkelenz (pages xxiii-xxiv and 140–141) points to manuscript evidence that dates this fragment in July rather than June 1816.

  6. The convention of “word/word” in Erkelenz’s transcriptions denotes “second word superimposed on … the first.”

  7. Although MWS frequently used and transformed biographical experiences and journal records in her fiction, this particular transformation of PBS and Byron into Victor and Elizabeth is intriguing.

  8. There are many subtle interrelations between these two excursions: e.g., for MWS, “The rain continued in torrents” (MWS Journal, I, 118), prevented her from reaching the summit of Montanvert, and caused her to return to the hotel where that day she wrote her story about the monster; for Victor, “the rain poured down in torrents” kept the rest of the Frankenstein party at the inn, and enabled Victor to climb Montanvert, after which he saw the monster on the Mer de Glace.

  9. When referring to MWS’s Journal, I preface it with the place where she made the entry: e.g., Geneva Journal means she made the entry while residing in Geneva; Genoa Journal, in Genoa. The reader is reminded that there were not discrete Journals for each locale.

  10. This and other evidence suggests that there was in fact an ur-text and that MWS did not turn from writing a “story” to writing a “book” or “novel” before August 1816—see also note 12 below as well as “Hypothetically Reconstructing an Ur-Text” in Introduction.

  11. Most intriguing here is that Charles Clairmont’s reference to “Ingolstat” may have been in response to MWS’s now lost letter of 28 June that he had recently received. According to Charles, MWS in that letter mentioned that PBS and Byron were still on their tour around Lake Geneva (see Clairmont Correspondence, I, 62); it is also possible that she wrote to him that not only was she writing a “story” during their absence but also that part of it would be set in Ingolstadt. If that were the case, then we could date the particulars of the ur-text with greater accuracy. Alas, this is one of the countless places in literary history where a single but now lost document could shed considerable light.

  12. David Ketterer in “Draft” (page 264, n.26) offers one hypothesis about the summer writing activity only to emend it (or to give the word “translate” yet additional meanings) in the galleys of a forthcoming 1997 article (“Insert”). In both instances, he relies on nine MWS Journal entries (such as “Write & read … I translate in the evening” and “Write and Translate” and “Write my story and translate”) between 7 and 16 August 1816 to mean that MWS was simultaneously (1) writing new parts of her novel and (2) “translating” or “transferring” her ur-text into either Notebook A or B (a complication that Ketterer introduces that is not warranted by the manuscript evidence). Such a reading of “translate,” while possible, seems with the word “write” too cumbersome to be persuasive, especially since the nine entries that indicate “translate” more likely meant that MWS was translating (perhaps as an exercise) the Tacitus that PBS began to read on 6 August and finished on 17 August, dates that quite nicely frame and explain MWS’s “translate” entries—see MWS Journal, I, 123–126. For another unfortunate confusion about the word “translate,” see note 28 below. See also “Hypothetically Reconstructing an Ur-Text” in the Introduction.

  13. I should state here, however, that Betty T. Bennett disagrees with my reading of “work” and judges that MWS would not consider such housework as worth mentioning in her Journal. If Bennett is right, then the exact meaning of “work” still eludes us.

  14. MWS’s reading list for 1816 confirms that she read “Introduction to Davy’s Chemistry” (MWS Journal, I, 96), but the actual book could have been either Davy’s Elements of Chemical Philosophy, Part I, Vol. I (London: J. Johnson and Co., 1812) that PBS purchased in 1812 (see PBS Letters, I, 319) or possibly Davy’s A Discourse,Introductory to A Course of Lectures on Chemistry (London: Sold at the House of the Royal Institution, 1802), the latter judged more likely by Crouch, pages 35–44. However, MWS’s reference to “potassium & Boron”, two elements not isolated until 1807 and 1808 according to 1818 Crook, 28n., suggests that MWS was acquainted with more than the 1802 Discourse.

  15. For an explanation of the “mystery” surrounding the first part of this letter, see Nora Crook’s review of MWS Letters in Keats-Shelley Review 7 (1992): 149, n.13.

  16. There is, of course, one more possibility: that MWS revised and shortened the “very long” Ch. [4] not long after she “finished” it on 5 December 1816.

  17. That is, pages 124–203 in Notebook B plus the two pages (originally paginated 183–184) that were torn out of Notebook B (see Quiring Charts for Quire [IV] in Notebook B).

  18. There are three other reasons to favor the hypothesis that MWS made the re-transcription before 3 August 1817: (1) the amateurish cutting of the edges makes it unlikely that a printer or even a printer’s assistant made the cuts in the period between late August and early November; (2) the fact that only PBS pages were damaged and replaced supports the hypothesis that the re-transcription preceded sending the notebooks to Ollier; and (3) the paper MWS used for the re-transcription was identical to the paper she used for her transcription of PBS’s oral translation of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound on 13 July 1817 in Marlow (see Chronology for that date as well as Barker-Benfield, Guitar, pages 88–89; see also the information on these substitute pages in my Introduction, page xlvii; finally, see note 28 below).

  19. A publisher at this time usually entered into one of three kinds of publishing agreements: (1) he could purchase the copyright and then publish the work at his own expense, paying for the copyright and all printing and advertising expenses out of the income; (2) he could contract with the author for half (or one-third or one-quarter) profits that were determined after paying all expenses for printing, advertising, and circulating the book; (3) he could publish by commission on the author’s own account, that is, arrange all or most details of printing, advertising, and circulating the book (the expenses for which would be paid by the author), receive all income from sales, and then deduct a commission (usually 10%) for his marketing labours. PBS published most of his works on commission through his publishers Charles and James Ollier—see Robinson, “Ollier.”

  20. See Edward Baldwin [William Godwin], The Pantheon: or Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome. For the Use of Schools, and Young Persons of Both Sexes, 4th ed. (London: Printed for M. J. Godwin, at the Juvenile Library, 1814), pages 74–80.

  21. The plural “Mss.” (in contrast to “manuscript” earlier in the letter and to “MS.” in the letter to Hunt on the same day) may refer specifically to the [?eleven] separate Fair-Copy Notebooks that PBS was asking Ollier to read.

  22. For information on the Robinson publishing family, see An Old Bookseller, “Letters to My Son at Rome [Letters IX and X]: Notice of the Robinsons,” in The Aldine Magazine I (1838/39): 132–135 and 156–157.

  23. Although the Fair Copy for this passage is not extant, the similarity in the surrounding passages between the Draft text and 1818 text suggest that MWS rather than PBS transcribed the Draft into the Fair Copy. Consequently, if PBS did author the lines in question, he most likely did it in the proof stage. Compare these lines to PBS’s famous remark, made at approximately the same time in the draft notebook for Laon and Cythna, about a person giving “a faithful history of his being from the earliest epochs of his recollection,” about men beholding “thier own recollections … thier shadowy hopes & fears,” about thought being “like a river whose rapid & perpetual stream flows outwards” from the “caverns of the mind” (see complete transcription of this passage in Tokoo, pages 162–165).

    There is a slight possibility that these proofs had nothing to do with Frankenstein; that is, MWS might have been referring to “abruptnesses” in the proofs of History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, the first half (“journal of our travels”) of which she appears to have fair copied from [?6] through [?13] or [?17] August 1817; but it is more likely that no proofs of History were forthcoming until after 12 October 1817 when MWS fair copied the second half (“letters from Geneva”) ofHistory of a Six Weeks’ Tour (see Chronology for 6–17 August and for 10–12 October 1817). If this “carte blanche” permission was given to PBS for Frankenstein, it should be stressed that it applied only to this proof, perhaps a single gathering of 24 pages.

  24. For the full name of the printer, consult Todd, page 123.

  25. It is also possible that these “proofs” referred to MWS and PBS’s collaborative History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, the first half of which may have been going through the press at this time (see Chronology for 28 September 1817).

  26. For the latest information on Claire Clairmont’s fiction at this time, see Clairmont Correspondence, I, 30–33, 92, and 111–112 (n.l)—see also Clairmont Journals, pages 40, 43–44, 75, 77.

  27. See also Godwin Diary for that date (“Gig w. Mary; attendant Shelley & Peacock; through Wycombe, to Hampden”), which suggests that PBS and Peacock may have accompanied the two-person gig, possibly on foot, for some or all of this excursion.

  28. It should be emphasized that “translate F.” here does not mean that MWS re-transcribed the PBS Fair Copy at this time. Ketterer made that error in his “Draft” article (pages 241–242, n.11), only to disabuse himself of it in his forthcoming “Insert” article (page 13, n.2, in the galley stage that he provided me). It is much more likely that MWS re-transcribed the damaged PBS fair copy no later than 3 August, when PBS submitted the Fair-Copy Notebooks of his anonymous “friend” to the publisher Charles Ollier (who could have recognized PBS’s distinctive hand and wondered how it got on this manuscript of a “friend”)—for more information on this re-transcription, see Chronology for [?10–13] May and for 3 August 1817.

  29. It is possible but unlikely that all of Frankenstein was printed by 3 November: on 28 October 1817 there were still six gatherings in Volume III to print and/or to see through proofs; and the first evidence for a three-volume novel ready to be read in a proof copy is not until 22 November 1817 (see Chronology for these dates).

  30. Other advertisements for Frankenstein in the Times, Morning Chronicle, and elsewhere are not recorded in this Chronology, except for what appear to be the last advertisements for 1818 (see 1, 2 July and 15, 26 August 1818 in this Chronology).

  31. Strictly speaking, the manuscript of this Journal entry reads more like “Franten comes” (the reading given in SC, V, 471, n.5), but it is clearly a standard albeit slightly miswritten abbreviated form for “Frankenstein.”

  32. This official publication date (taken from the Times rather than the Observer—see Chronology above for 28 and for 30 December 1817) needs emphasis here in order to counteract the frequent misdating of Frankenstein’s publication in March or April 1818 (see, e.g., Grylls, pages 307 and 326; 1818 Rieger, page xix; Mellor, page xvi; 1818 Hunter, page 334; 1818 Butler, page lviii [and page lix in the World’s Classics edition].)

  33. The expenses were as follows: £37.12.0 for “Printing 23½ sheets” at “32” shillings per sheet; £5.11.6 for “Correction & Labels”; £35.5.0 for “Paper 23½” reams @ “30” shillings per ream; £2.9.6 for “Board … 33 Sets given away”; £27.10.0 for “Advertising”; £7.10.0 for advertising “in Scotland.”

  34. It is possible but unlikely that the Lackington statement of account (written out for PBS at a single sitting) was is in error and that the account was debited not on 3 November 1817 but on 3 January 1818, the day after PBS repeated his request for “ten additional copies.”

  35. I have not been able to confirm that this review was in fact published in March: the earliest advertisement announcing the contents of the March Edinburgh Magazine that I have encountered is in the Morning Chronicle of 9 April (page 2, column 1), but such advertisements frequently appeared days or weeks after a magazine was published. I have no information on the publication date of the March La Belle Assemblée.

  36. For these dates, see the preliminary “To Correspondents” section in Blackwood’s 2 (February 1818). To confirm the latter date, see the advertisement for the March Blackwood’s in the Morning Chronicle, 31 March 1818 (page 2, column 1).

  37. These late advertisements prove that Lackington still had an interest in the novel, and they therefore call into question the 22 May 1818 “Date of Issue” that is given for Frankenstein in a handwritten Colburn “list of publications.” Frankenstein seems to have been entered into the 1818 “lists” as a consequence of Colburn having “published” an edition of Frankenstein on 4 April 1826 (see Chronology for that date as well as Bentley Archives, University of Illinois Library, microfilm reel #10). It is possible, however, that Colburn on 22 May 1818 purchased at discount 25 or more of the remaining copies from Lackington in order to sell them from his own shop.

  38. For the redating of this letter in PBS Letters from 18 to 19 August, see SC, VI, 679, n.11.

  39. For Godwin’s response and letters, see SC, VI, 777–781; for the many textual changes in both the prefatory letter and “The Vampyre” (in NMM versions as well as in the separately published versions), see Viets; for a reprint of the “Extract of a Letter” as well as “The Vampyre,” see Polidori Fiction, pages 177–183 and 33–49 (but note that the editors Macdonald and Scherf have changed the 1819 names because of Polidori’s later emendations); and for an extended treatment of this scandal in which not only MWS but also Byron and Polidori were ill-served, see Macdonald, Polidori, pages 177–203.

  40. See Macdonald, Polidori, pages 189–190 and notes (page 277), from which all of these quotations are taken. A survey of the reviews of Polidori’s The Vampyre would reveal more references to MWS and Frankenstein. Sunstein (page 436, n.35) and Huet (page 153, quoting Sunstein) apparently misquote the line about the “horrid dream.”

  41. A partial and different printing of this letter in Paul, II, 282, misrepresents the date of these remarks.

  42. Forry’s Hideous Progenies offers the fullest and most accurate information on this and other dramatic productions of Frankenstein at this time. In addition to a lively rehearsal of the Frankenstein phenomenon and a “List of Dramatizations” (pages 121–126, with parenthetical numbers indicating “the approximate number of performances achieved by each play upon its debut”), Forry corrects the errors of others who have ventured into this field, including Florescu, Glut, LaValley, and Nitchie.

  43. Among the many confusions surrounding Frankenstein is the mistaken judgment that 1823 was “set from the original plates” of 1818 (1818 Macdonald, page 36). That could not have been the case, and a collation of the two editions shows not only all the variants but also the different placement of the text on many pages.

  44. The text of this letter was corrected in three places by Bennett in her MWS Selected Letters, pages 136–137; the convention of curly brackets in Bennett’s transcription denotes an omitted letter. Selected Letters, page 241, provides another correction (“It is” to “Is it”) to the text of the 30 June 1831 letter quoted in this Chronology.

  45. These remarks were separately published in The Speech of the Rt. Hon. George Canning, in the House of Commons, on the 16th Day of March, 1824. On Laying before the House the “Papers in Explanation of the Measures Adopted by His Majesty’s Government, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Slave Population in His Majesty’s Dominions in the West Indies” (London: John Murray, 1824), pages 21–22.

  46. The 5th number of this magazine was due to be published on 1 July 1824 but was delayed until 31 July—see advertisements in the Times for 29 August 1823 (page 4, column 1) and in London Literary Gazette for 24 July 1824 (page 479, column 1) and for 7 August 1824 (page 511, column 3).

  47. Using parallel columns to discredit Medwin, Hobhouse first quoted Medwin’s Byron as having said “‘My real Vampyre I gave at the end of Mazeppa, something in the same way that I told it one night at Diodati, when Monk Lewis and Shelley and his wife were present. The latter sketched on that occasion the outline of her Pygmalion story, the modern Prometheus’—p. 149”; Hobhouse then responded with “The conversation said to have been held at Diodati is fictitious.—With the exception of Mr. Lewis, no one told a tale, and Mrs. Shelley never saw the late Mr. Lewis in her life. The Preface to Frankenstein shows that that story was invented before Lord Byron’s and Mr. Shelley’s tour on the Lake, and Mr. Lewis did not arrive at Diodati till some time after” (page 28). When Hobhouse quoted from page 149 of the 2d ed. of Medwin’s Conversations, he omitted Byron’s purported remark after “‘the modern Prometheus’”— namely, “the making of a man (which a lady who had read it afterwards asked Sir Humphry Davy, to his great astonishment, if he could do …).” Byron’s purported remarks are on pages 101–102 of the 1824 first edition of Medwin’s Conversations.

  48. Forry, pages 121–122, lists Paris productions of six more adaptations of Frankenstein in 1826.

  49. Because of this confusing arrangement, some copies of Standard Novels #9 have been divided and rebound. Such is the case with a copy in Cambridge University Library, which caused Nora Crook to claim (incorrectly) that Standard Novels #9 included only Frankenstein and that a half-title announcing Volume I of The Ghost-Seer was erroneous (see 1818 Crook, page 175n.).

  50. Significant “alterations” made in 1831 include the following: Elizabeth’s transformation from a cousin to a foundling having no blood relation to Victor; a new chapter to accommodate a much longer exposition about Victor’s childhood; and a more explicit and earlier introduction of the doppelgänger theme when Victor alludes to Aristophanes’ myth of the circular and then divided primal human beings in Plato’s Symposium (Walton records in the revised Letter IV the following remarks by Victor: “‘I agree with you,’ replied the stranger; ‘we are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves—such a friend ought to be—do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures. I once had a friend [Clerval], the most noble of human creatures, and am entitled, therefore, to judge respecting friendship’” [page 16].)

  51. This letter is dated [?February–10 March 1831] in MWS Letters because it seems to anticipate the not-yet-contracted-for 1831 edition in which MWS added an “Introduction” to precede the “Preface” of 1818. The new discovery of the purported 1826 edition (the re-issue by Colburn on 4 April 1826) seemed to corroborate the dating because MWS’s desire for a new “real” edition could have been a reference to the “unreal” 1826 edition (or so Nora Crook and I reasoned in international faxes, email, and telephone conversations in December 1995—see 1818 Crook, page xcviii and n.31). But the specifics of the letter (where MWS wanted to add to the “Introduction”—and only 1831 had an “Introduction”; and where she inquired about Frankenstein going to “the press again”—a likely reference to the 1832 stereotyped re-issue that did not involve a resetting of any pages of the 1831 edition) caused me to rethink the dating of this letter. The fact that Colburn and Bentley dissolved their partnership in September 1832 does not bear on the 1833 date I have assigned to the letter—MWS asked Ollier about Colburn and Bentley in a later letter of 11 February 1833, which is in fact one of two letters that seem to frame the letter I have dated [?1–10 February 1833]: on 31 January 1833 MWS asked Ollier to “read” the manuscript of Volume I of Lodore “with as little delay as is practicable”; she concluded her [?1–10 February] letter with the P.S. “Do tell me what you have done about the MS. sent you to read”; and she concluded 11 February with “When shall I hear from you on the other subject [that is, the fate of Lodore, which Bentley eventually accepted for publication] ?”

  52. For the rest of this list of dramatizations up through 1986, see Forry, pages 122–126.