No Frankenstein probably wasn’t born here – though he was arguably born less than a mile away in Dundee! Allow me to explain. This plaque in Seagate in East Central Dundee so to speak marks as you can see dear reader the birthplace and home until she was fifteen of the mother of the poet Robert Browning. The family were Dutch sugar merchants and left Dundee to move to London in 1787 when Sarah was fifteen. She later encouraged her son Robert in the reading of poetry – particularly those well known bad boy atheists of the day Keats and Shelley. Yet she herself was Christian. How much of all this was informed by her early life in Dundee we don’t really know but in ungrammatical sporting cliche terms – her boy done good!
Now a few years after Sarah left Dundee the future Mary Shelley rolled into town. She stayed a while moved back South and then returned to the silver river having met and started to hang out with none other than PB Shelley esquire! And the seeds of Frankenstein were sown during her time in Dundee. It is said that watching Dundee whalers at work in the city’s then thriving whaling industry gave MS ideas! People get obsessed with William McGonagall but Dundee actually has a rich and diverse literary history without the man who played Macbeth in the city and refused to die!