In the pantheon of classic horror, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein ranks as one of the first, and most memorable, monster tales ever told. And while it’s easy enough to pick up a new copy of the spine-tingling 1818 narrative from pretty much any bookstore, it’s now possible to pore over the original, hand-penned manuscript online.
The New York Public Library teamed up with the University of Maryland’s Institute for Technology in the Humanities to digitize Shelley’s two surviving notebooks containing most of the work — complete with edits by Percy Bysshe Shelley, her poet husband. Making this almost 200-year-old text click-accessible for a modern audience is only the first step for the Shelley-Godwin Archive, which hopes to digitize the entire oeuvre of the ultra-writerly family of Percy, Mary, and her parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft.
There’s a pretty extensive how-to on the best ways to navigate the site, which fittingly launched this All Hallows Eve and is currently in beta mode. Have a scroll around at what genius looked like in the most truly terrifying time of them all: pre-word processing. [New York Times ArtsBeat]
Image: Shelley, M. (1817). “Frankenstein — Draft Notebook B,” in The Shelley-Godwin Archive, c. 57, fol. 29v.