The name "Frankenstein" is famous enough to have entered popular culture, even if people often get confused about whether it refers to the scientist or the monster. But where did Mary Shelley get this name from? Did it come from a particular real-life person, a local legend from somewhere in Europe, some significant hidden meaning? Surely it's more than just a random German-sounding name?

1 Answer 1


An easy might-be-true answer is in Wikipedia: from Burg Frankenstein, a castle in Germany, where your predecessors conjectured Shelley visited and possibly drew inspiration from the castle's legends.

This story is not universally believed, however. See the essay "Frankenstein – the monster’s home?" by Michael Mueller for a forceful denial of every insinuation found in the Wikipedia article.

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    What is your source for this? Is there anything by Mary Shelley which says she visited the castle? Sep 3, 2018 at 1:41
  • The web page in my answer, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein_Castle . It seems there is a long-standing version of this hokey-sounding story. Just because it's in Wikipedia doesn't automatically mean its false... Sep 3, 2018 at 2:34
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    I didn't say it was false. I commented because it's preferable to have your references in your answer, because if the link ever goes down, your answer will lose some of its value. Sep 3, 2018 at 2:44
  • @Gallifreyan , I have added another fragile link. I am flattered that you posit some value to my answer, but am comfortable with the risk that its value might diminish. Sep 3, 2018 at 2:58
  • This is a decent theory (although as @Gall said, your answer would be improved by including the evidence here rather than sending the reader elsewhere to find it). Are there any other plausible theories about the origin of the name?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 4, 2018 at 22:24

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