What was the political climate of the Frankenstein decade? International relations were in chaos after the long efforts of the Napoleonic wars. The allies entered Paris and Napoleon was defeated at the beginning of April 1814; and that same summer Mary and Shelley and Claire Clairmont travelled through a disastrously war-ravaged France on their ‘Six Weeks’ Tour’ of elopement. They were back in England before two months had passed, and remained there during Napoleon’s reappearance the following year — the ‘hundred days’ leading to his final defeat at Waterloo in June 1815. Just 12 months after Waterloo, Mary was in the Maison Chapuis on the shores of Lake Geneva, beginning to write Frankenstein. The wars against Napoleonic and Revolutionary France were a huge international upheaval. They lasted, with only a short intermission, more than 20 years. It is not enough, however, for us to mention 1814 and 1815 — even if those military events allowed Percy, Mary and Claire to take their continental jaunt. What is most important for us as we try to understand the eighteen-teens is that this decade would lead up to a 40th year of waiting, for those radicals who wished to make Britain more equal and more free.
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