chapter  2
The symptom of ugliness
Pages 14

In June 1816, in the Swiss Alps, a young woman then aged only nineteen, developed the idea for a story that was set to become a classic ± Frankenstein. The idea for the novel grew out of an exchange of ideas involving the poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, Byron's physician, John Polidor, and Mary Shelley. Casually, they speculated about the reanimation of a corpse ± speculations that must have resonated deeply with Mary Shelley's own early experience of losing her mother. Byron went on to suggest that they each wrote a ghost story. And indeed this is what Mary Shelley set out to do ± except that what she wrote was a story about the `ghosts' in her own nursery (Fraiberg et al. 1975), that is, about her own unprocessed early experience with her parents. Indeed, familial fact and fantasy are the integral fabric of Frankenstein.