A Look Inside The Lady and Her Monsters
From Giovanni Aldini's text, Essai theoretique experimental sur le galvanism, depicting two decapitated cadavers and his efforts to restore movements to them.
Mrs. Docherty was suffocated and her body sold to Dr. Knox for dissection. The killers used the method known as 'burking' - plying their victim with drink then suffocating her. Mrs. Docherty was their last victim.
In the 18th century, the river provided a great divide between social classes in London. It was also from one of its bridges that Mary Wollstonecraft jumped trying to commit suicide.
Frankenstein Observing the first stirring of his creature -- This is a print from the 1831 edition.
*Starred Review* Scores of books and movies have retold the infamous tale of the ghost-story contest that gave rise to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but Montillo digs deeper (so to speak) in this dual history of literature and science. Half the book is simply one of the most readable biographical portraits you’ll find of Mary Shelley—the standoffish, spiteful, but brilliant daughter of a famous feminist mother and philosopher father, and whose torrid love affair with the wild poet Percy Shelley (aka “Mad Shelley”) kicked off with premarital midnight sex in a cemetery and only got weirder from there. Alternating with Mary’s narrative is the hellacious history of the rock-star anatomists of the 1700s, who enthralled Percy, and, by extension, Mary, with their grotesque forays into “galvanism,” the manipulation of dead muscle via electrical current. Both plots come lumbering at each other like, well, monsters until that fateful summer in Geneva when Mary stitched her various influences together into a single literary beast. Montillo is an academic but unafraid of salaciousness, injecting into her tale an invigorating solution of sex, gore, and gossip as we reach both the end of Mary’s woeful life and the end of the anatomists’ grave-robbing free-for-all as it ceded to the Anatomy Act. Sick, smart, shocking, and spellbinding. --Daniel Kraus