I visit the town where Victor Frankenstein created his creature.
Karlsruhe I loved. The city fathers and mothers had done something I saw elsewhere in Germany, too—closed off downtown blocks to automobile traffic, thereby converting the center of the city into a sort of mall. Just streetcars. The evening I was there (late April 1999) I commented in my journal that I saw many people out and about chowing on street food. I liked it so much, I altered my plans a bit and made it sort of my “base” for a few days. I loved my small hotel, commenting that I felt as if I’d been released from prison and asked to the Waldorf.
The next day I was on the road to Ingolstadt. As I said, Mary Shelley had never been there (though she’d been in the region a couple of times), but she didn’t write a lot about the city in the 1818 (first) edition of Frankenstein. We learn at the beginning of Chapter II that Victor, age 17, went to the university at Ingolstadt at his parents’ insistence.
[M]y father thought it necessary for the completion of my education, Victor says, that I should be made acquainted with other customs than those of my native country.
But the only real physical description is this:
I had sufficient leisure for these and many other reflections during my journey to Ingolstadt, which was long and fatiguing. At length the high white steeple of the town met my eyes. I alighted, and was conducted to my solitary apartment, to spend the evening as I pleased.
My main mission in Ingolstadt: to find the university building that housed the anatomy school--the place where Victor attended the lectures that led to his creation of the creature. Wandering around the university environs, I found, first, a street sign: Anatomiestr. Anatomy street! Could it be? I took some pictures, wandered around, focusing on the oldest buildings, then returned to the car.
Since I was in the vicinity, I thought I’d take a look at Dachau.
Photos from that 1999 visit: