Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, apparently spent enough time in the town of Bath for the city to commemorate her with a plaque. The honor will be outside the famous Pump Room and Roman baths, beside a trapdoor in the pavement. It will cover the only surviving part of the print shop where Mary Shelley rented a room and stayed. It was demolished in the 19th century, leaving only the cellar.
Mary Shelley—at the time Godwin—wrote much of her book during the months she lived in Bath. Months where she dealt with a multitude of her own hardships. Her father refused to see her since her elopement with Percy Shelley. She also dealt with the suicide of her half-sister Fanny, and the difficulty surrounding the details of her own marriage, which was only possible due to the suicide of his pregnant first wife.
Despite Mary Shelley’s recalling of events of the summer of 1816, she never mentioned Bath. “It’s almost as if she spent those five months here as an object of scandal, without wanting anyone to know where she was – and the secret has been kept for 200 years,” said Sheila Hannon, the founder of the Show of Strength theatre company, who leads Mary Shelley walks through the city. “How she managed to get anything written at all is astonishing, but perhaps the book was her salvation. Her time in Bath is a very dark story, and she deserves to be celebrated.”
Image via Zuleika Henry
Hannon spearheads the campaign to celebrate Mary Shelley’s time in Bath, and is supported by members of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. The plaque will be unveiled by Christopher Frayling, an expert on horror films and the author of a recent study on Frankenstein.
Featured Image Via Ireland’s Own.