THE handwritten draft of the novel that launched a thousand horror films is going on show in Oxford.

The original scribblings that became Frankenstein are among items appearing in a new exhibition about the life of its author Mary Shelley, inset, and her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, at the Bodleian Library.

The couple – as yet unmarried – were stuck in Lord Byron’s Swiss villa near Lake Geneva in 1816 when Mary, just 18, suffered the nightmare that led to one of fiction’s most infamous creations.

The manuscript, part of a collection bought by the library for £3.9m in 2004, shows her original draft and revisions in the margins suggested by her famous husband.

The documents are usually kept away from public gaze in an air-conditioned vault.

Also going on display are other manuscripts, journals detailing the couple’s love affair and an eyepiece, salvaged from the boat aboard which the poet drowned in September 1822, aged just 29. The exhibition runs from Friday until March 27 next year.