Once upon a time in Switzerland, some English tourists spent an unusually cold, wet summer in Switzerland on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). The tourists weren’t just any old tourists, they were the romantics. They wrote masterpieces, this dunce writes this blog.
One dark and stormy night, the literary group bet that they could write as a gothic fiction novel that was as good or better than the then-popular cheap works. The others, Lord Byron, Percy Blythe Shelley and Claire Clairmont were all able to come up with a story quite quickly. Mary Godwin was not. After an evening of conversation about reanimating human bodies using electrical currents, 18 year-old Mary Godwin dreamt of corpses coming back to life and the image of Frankenstein. She woke up and wrote a short story about her dream.
She ended up marrying Percy Blythe Shelley, becoming Mary Shelley. He encouraged her to expand the short story into a full-length novel. It became one of the greatest literary creations of the regency period and the first gothic novel.
Mary Shelley was taken with the area’s beauty, describing color of the lake, “blue as the heavens which it reflects.” She visited many of the area’s tourist attractions and they feature in the story.
- Victor Frankenstein is from Geneva.
- She took the traditional iron tram from Chamonix to the The Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) on Mont Blanc. According to legend, she used this spectacular, icy landscape as the backdrop for the meeting between Victor Frankenstein and his maker.
- Victor Frankenstein’s home is called “Belrive.” Villa Diodati, the manor where Byron, Shelley and company stayed, was originally named Villa Belle Rive.
- Safie flees to Switzerland.