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Read In Context — Try It


Letter Id

St. Petersburghh, Dec. 11th, 17—d

TO Mrs. Saville, England

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

I am already far north of Londonh, and as I walk...

X [(d)] Frankenstein

Writing & Reading

A superscript w denotes the annotation is a definition of a word; a superscript h addresses factual or historical material; a superscript d indicates a discussion or critical commentary; and a (w), (h), or (d) indicates an illustration, often one of Jane Freeman's paintings. …

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X [d] Letter 1

Writing & Reading

Frankenstein is what's known as an epistolary novel, its narration told through epistles or letters. Samuel Richardson perfected the form in his influential Pamela, Or, Virtue Rewarded (1740), in Clarissa, Or, The History of a Young Lady (1748), and then, turning from a female to a male protagonist of superior virtue, Richardson wrote …

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X [(h)] St. Petersburgh

City associated with Peter the Great, the Russian czar who admired England, considered himself an enlightened autocrat, and ruled Russia from 1682-1725. 

X [d] 17—

Daily Life

Mary Shelley's omission of the decade means she can evoke a general historical landscape from the later 18th c.. But, absent anachronism, the year must be 1799. 

Walton refers to Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," published in 1798. Walton is writing either in that year or, given his travels and distance from England, in 1799, ten years after the fall of the Bastille, s…

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X [h] far north of London,


St. Petersburg is 59 deg., 56' north, London 51 30', and Inverness, Scotland, 57 28', or about 450 miles north of London.


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In Context Editions (Annotated)