The Tambora – Frankenstein Myth: The Monster Inspired

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Alan Marshall
Kanang Kantamurapoj
Nanthawan Kaenkaew
Mark Felix


The link between the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 and Mary Shelley’s composition of Frankenstein has attained mythic status. The myth uses a scientific frame to promote the idea that the Tambora event led to Mary Shelley’s invention of the Frankenstein story because the eruption so altered the climate of Europe (lowering the temperatures, creating rainy electrical storms, producing frosts and floods, and generally darkening the landscape) that Shelley dreamt up the idea for her monstrous horror tale as a result. She was then imprisoned indoors by the volcanically-induced bad summer weather of 1816 and thus encouraged to craft the story into a full length gothic novel. This paper outlines the structure of this Tambora – Frankenstein myth and then attempts to investigate its roles, goals, and meanings as ascribed by various (mostly ‘pop science’ scholars) and journalists. An attempt is then made to elucidate the problems, failings, and miscalculations of the Myth.

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How to Cite
Marshall, A., Kantamurapoj, K., Kaenkaew, N., & Felix, M. (2019). The Tambora – Frankenstein Myth: The Monster Inspired. Humanities Bulletin, 2(2), 217–235. Retrieved from