Radical. Lover. Atheist. Poet. These are just a few of the words that describe Percy Bysshe Shelley, but he wasn’t alone in his uncommon ideals and outsider status. Many of the writers in his circle — Mary Shelley, the anarchist philosopher William Godwin, and the proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft — proposed radical ideas, including equality among the sexes and races, now taken for granted. How did these outsiders become insiders? See how their contributions to revolution and rebellion resonate with people who remain on the outside of society today.
By Susan J. Wolfson

Why is “Frankenstein” our default lexicon for an array of disturbing political and scientific novelties?

Metropolitan Detention Center Reading Group

Inmates say they can relate to how the Creature is treated in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

By Nicholas Higgins | NYPL Correctional Services

Does society really want to rehabilitate criminals — or keep them locked up?

By Caroline Ashby | NYPL Andrew Heiskell Library

Not much has changed in portrayals of “the blind” since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

NYPL Andrew Heiskell Library Reading Group

Blind people are often portrayed as saints; it’s a stereotype that frustrates them.

By Christopher Paul Moore | NYPL Schomburg Center

Prometheus and Frankenstein both figured large in the struggle to end slavery and champion equal rights.

By Stephanie DeGooyer | NYPL Wertheim Study

Deciding who speaks on behalf of Frankenstein’s Creature grants him unexpected status.

By Julia Miele Rodas

What happens if we imagine the Frankenstein story as an encounter between neuro-typical and autistic humanity?

An Interview with Andrea Immel

William Godwin made a pretty good children's storyteller... for an anarchist.

By Pamela Clemit | NYPL Cullman Center

Risking arrest during the French Revolution, William Godwin gambled on writing to a friend.

Featured Stories

In the wake of the French Revolution, political equality and something like a sexual revolution for women seemed possible.


There’s a good reason why some of the children’s books first published by William and Mary Jane Godwin remain in print today.


Seminal texts arguing for liberty written in the time of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his circle continue to inspire and resonate today with oppressed people worldwide.


What if the Creature in Frankenstein was real — and what if he’s still alive today... in New York’s East Village?