The Bicentenary of Frankenstein

This year marks the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s most notable novel, ‘Frankenstein’. This celebratory milestone has sparked much debate amongst critics  on the major themes of the novel and the messages it seeks to convey. Many organisations are holding celebratory events to mark this anniversary, including Matlock Bath Development Association.

The literary classic,  concerned with the reanimation of the dead, and the consequences of meddling in the balance of life and death, is famously known to have a short excerpt in which the protagonist Victor, visits Matlock Bath during his search for the Monster, and his discovery of caves which he believed the Monster resided in. The excerpt is below.

“We … proceeded to Matlock, which was our next place of rest. The country in the neighbourhood of this village resembles Switzerland; but everything is on a lower scale … We visited the wondrous cave, and the little cabinets of natural history …”

Mary Shelley (1994) “Frankenstein” (1818 Text) World Classics, Oxford University Press, Oxford (Vol. III, Chapter II).

The caves referenced in the novel are a subject of debate amongst the town’s residents… of the many caves in Matlock Bath, which one was Shelley referring to? Many of the historical buildings have caves attached to them that penetrate deep into the hillside, and form some of the more notable tourist attractions that Matlock Bath has to offer today.


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