The Moon and the Origin of Frankenstein




Schnarr, Kelly Danielle

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The classic horror story, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, has thrilled audiences for almost two centuries. Our Texas State group used astronomical methods to determine the precise date and time in June 1816 when Mary Shelley had the “waking dream” that inspired her story of the infamous monster. Mary Shelley described the origin of her tale in the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein. Astronomical dating of the events in the spring and summer of 1816 is important because some modern scholars have raised doubts regarding the chronology as given by Mary Shelley. Some current authors are even skeptical that Mary Shelley is truly the one who wrote Frankenstein. Our research group traveled to Cologny, Switzerland, in August 2010 to find the location where the idea of Frankenstein was originally created. We carried out astronomical calculations and topographical analyses, and we collected historical photographs and weather records. In this study we will use our evidence to support Mary Shelley’s chronology and by extension her authorship of her classic tale Frankenstein.



moon, Shelley, Mary, gothic novel, year without a summer, Villa Diodati, Frankenstein, Honors College


Schnarr, K. D. (2012). The moon and the origin of Frankenstein (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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