Of English origin, Mary Shelley was born on August 30, 1797. Her father was a philosopher and an author, her mother, a feminist. Surrounded by intellectuals from an early age, she benefited from an intensive literary upbringing. At the age of 16, she married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley with whom she toured Europe and above all, Italy. These travels were to inspire many accounts and short stories. After a stay of several months in Geneva, the couple returned to England where Mary continued to write. The monster Frankenstein took shape during a stormy night in Cologny in 1816 as the result of a wager. In an effort to ignore the pounding rain, Mary, her husband and friends began exchanging ghost stories. Then they challenged each other to write one during the night. That is when Frankenstein was born. In the original account, the creator of the monster was a young Genevan scientist named Victor Frankenstein. If one treads in the monster’s footsteps, one is led to some of the most beautiful sites in the Geneva area. The novel, completed in 1818, remains a model of horror literature.
The Villa Diodati, Lord Byron’s residence, where the “eerie” challenge took place is no longer accessible to the public. Nevertheless, the owner family still open its gardens to the media from time to time. In 2016, Geneva has celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the writing of the Frankenstein novel.