Google Doodles Celebrates Frankenstein Creator’s Birthday

British author Mary Shelley has become the latest historical figure to be commemorated by Google Doodles, the Telegraph reports. On what would have been her 213th birthday, the author who brought us the classic horror tale Frankenstein received her own spooky doodle in place of the search engine’s traditional logo.

Images via Google.co.uk & Google.com

In true Gothic horror fashion, the image shows a dim room with several ghostly portraits hanging from the walls, while the shadow of a figure with arms outstretched looms from a passageway.  You can almost hear the zombie-like groaning sound that often seems to accompany such phenomena.

Images via Google

Hovering the mouse over the logo displays the words “Mary Shelley’s 213th birthday”, while clicking the image links to a search page for “Mary Shelley”.  Born in 1797, Shelly began writing Frankenstein at the age of 18.  The novel, while Gothic in style and influenced by the Romantic movement, is also considered one of the earliest works of science fiction.

Images by Theodore Von Holst (left) and Punch Magazine

(Images left and right in public domain)

The title character, scientist Victor Frankenstein, creates a terrifying monster in the likeness of man, albeit a big one, and all hell is let loose from there.  The story has generated numerous interpretations over the years, including the mistaken attribution of the name “Frankenstein” to the monster, and the 80s song China in Your Hand by T’Pau. Frankenstein’s monster even appeared in Victorian-era anti-Irish propaganda (above right).

Images by Richard Rothwell (left) and Amelia Curran. Inset by Reginald Easton, allegedly drawn from Mary Shelley's death mask.

(Images 1, 2, 3 in public domain)

Dark themes explored within Shelley’s work have been attributed in part to ongoing tragedy during her own life.  Her husband, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned at sea.  Three of the couple’s children never saw adolescence, and Shelley finally died after a decade of poor health at the age of 53.

Google Doodles – the search engine’s signature homepage images – change regularly to reflect major events.  Birthdays of authors JM Barrie and Hans Christian Anderson have also been celebrated, as have the Apollo 11 lunar landing and The Wizard of Oz.  The first Google Doodle depicted the Burning Man Festival of 1998, while last year UFOs and crop circles commemorated the birthday of science fiction genius H.G. Wells.

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