In 1816, also known as “The Year Without a Summer,” a group of pioneering writers gathered at Villa Diodati in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, and wrote some of the most iconic Gothic horror stories in English literature. The Tales of Villa Diodati
is the result of a legendary ghost story contest between friends confined indoors by unseasonably dismal weather. “We will each write a story,” proposed Lord Byron. The challenge was the genesis of this blood-chilling anthology blending the macabre, supernatural, and romance. Selections include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
, the first true science fiction novel, and John Polidori’s “The Vampyre,” considered one of the earliest examples of the romantic vampire genre. The story was inspired by Lord Byron’s “A Fragment,” which is also included, as is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Fragment of a Ghost Story.” These spine-tingling tales have enthralled generations of readers for centuries.