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The Lady and Her Monsters

Cover of The Lady and Her Monsters

The Lady and Her Monsters

A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece
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The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley's gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how—at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution—Shelley's Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research—human reanimation—The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's horror classic.

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley's gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how—at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution—Shelley's Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research—human reanimation—The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's horror classic.

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About the Author-
  • Roseanne Montillo holds an MFA from Emerson College in Massachusetts, where she teaches as a professor of literature. She is the author of The Lady and Her Monsters, which was published in 2013.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 15, 2012
    Montillo’s debut, a macabre romp through 18th and 19th century Europe, illuminates the circumstances and inspiration behind one of gothic literature’s most notorious tales. Walking a fine line between historical fact and logical conjecture, the book deftly weaves details of Mary Shelley’s early life into the cultural and scientific map of the time in which she was writing. Grim body snatchers, cadaver-carving surgeons, and nefarious alchemists litter the pages. In her retelling of the genesis story of Frankenstein, Montillo offers a constellation of personalities that surrounded Shelley during her hasty writing of the tale. Heavily referencing letters and personal journals, Montillo analyzes Shelley’s literary cohorts, providing insight into the motives of her famous literary companions, the haunted Percy Shelley and womanizing Lord Byron. The picture painted provides much room for speculation, stripping long-embellished versions of the story down to the verifiable facts. Who really gave Shelley the technical know-how to write what she did? What were the true origins of her long-standing depression? Fraught with suicides, superstitions, natural disasters, and love affairs, the life of Mary Shelley shares much emotionally with the harrowing tale of her great protagonist, Victor Frankenstein. A delicious and enticing journey into the origins of a masterpiece. Illus. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management.

  • Wall Street Journal

    "Her narrative... rattles enjoyably through a lurid and restless landscape. ... Equally a literary and a scientific endeavor."

  • New York Times Book Review

    "Montillo achieves a freshness through her lively narrative approach and a fascination with long-ago science and its ethics that sparks across the pages."

  • Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)

    "Enthusiatic prose... A Spirited investigation of the bizarre times that inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein."

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "A delicious and enticing journey into the origins of a masterpiece."

  • Discover Magazine

    "With a flair for both drama and detail, Montillo breathes her own kind of life into the story of the men determined to discover its very elements."

  • Mental Floss

    "Spills the dirt on the making of the 19th-century novel--affairs, family drama, a lake house with Lord Byron!--and paints a grimly fascinating picture of the dissections and experiments in "animal electricity" that inspired the gothic tale."

  • The Commercial Dispatch

    "Montillo's book is a welcome tribute to the literary, and especially the scientific, roots of the story."

  • The Lady and Her Monsters

    "A welcome tribute to the literary, and especially the scientific, roots of the story."

  • New Scientist

    "Montillo never loses sight of the fact that it was Mary Shelley's imagination that sewed the pieces together - and provided the vital spark that keeps the tale alive nearly two centuries on."

  • Washington Post

    "A haunting picture of an era in which science and the arts overlapped, a perfect storm in which inspiration for "Frankenstein" could strike. Like a bolt of lightning."

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    HarperCollins
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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The Lady and Her Monsters
The Lady and Her Monsters
A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece
Roseanne Montillo
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