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Great Britain’s Famous Writers: Unveiling the Top 10 Dark Inspirations

Monsters and witches, haunted mansions, and science experiments gone wrong—these were just a few of the bone-chilling subjects for some of Great Britain’s most famous authors, poets, and playwrights. But while these writers created characters and settings that could be unsettling, their source material was often even more disturbing. From grim folk tales to nightmares to drug-induced hallucinations, here are ten of the darkest inspirations for some of the greatest writers of Great Britain.

10 Frankenstein

Mary Shelley had the idea for Frankenstein’s monster after taking opium and reading ghost stories with friends during a lightning storm.

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Mary Shelley) was just 18 years old when she joined writers Lord Byron, John Polidori, and her future husband, Percy Shelley, for a summer in Switzerland in 1816. Mary’s step sister, Clare Clairmont, was also present. When bad weather rolled in, the friends stayed in Byron’s rented villa, where they spent their nights drinking wine, taking opium, and reading ghost stories to each other. Clare Clairmont

One night, Byron suggested that each of them write a ghost story, and Mary took the challenge to heart. After several days of writer’s block, she lay in bed, unable to sleep, thinking back on some debates Byron and Shelley had had about whether electricity could be used to reanimate a corpse. Suddenly, she had a waking vision of what that might look like.

“I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then… show signs of life,” she later wrote. At first, she was horrified but quickly realized that “what terrified me will terrify others.” The next morning, she began to write the story that was published a year later as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.[1]

9 Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens probably based the dreaded workhouse in Oliver Twist on a real location near his boyhood home.

In one of Charles Dicke

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