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Frankenstein (Second Edition) (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – February 29, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0393927931 ISBN-10: 0393927938 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Second Edition edition (February 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393927938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927931
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. Paul Hunter is Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Reluctant Pilgrim: Defoe’s Emblematic Method and Quest for Form in Robinson Crusoe; Occasional Form: Henry Fielding and the Chains of Circumstance; and Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction. He is author of the first nine editions of The Norton Introduction to Poetry and the long-time co-editor of The Norton Introduction to Literature and New Worlds of Literature.

Customer Reviews

Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster because he is mad and wants to rule the world.
Frankenstein himself is another extremely well defined character, and the whole story breathes life into him.
There are some very interesting things going on in this book if you read between the lines.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fowler on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
Much like Bram Stoker's "Dracula", Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a story we all think we know, but really don't. Very few films have consciously attempted to follow the novel too closely (which shouldn't detract from the excellent James Whale/Boris Karloff film, or its masterpiece-sequel, "The Bride of Frankenstein). Thus, everything popular culture "knows" about "Frankenstein" does not originate from literature, but from films. This is a shame, in a way, because the novel itself is, if not the progenitor, an early vessel of so many archetypes found science fiction and horror.

The basic plot remained intact when transferred to other media. Swiss medical student Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of life (which he never reveals, lest someone repeat the mistake). He then puts together a body, essentially a man, from various corpses. He then becomes horrified by the creature he has built, and abandons. The creature, suffering a great deal of neglect and abuse, still manages to get a thorough education, and learns of his lineage. After murdering Victor's younger brother, and framing the family maid, the creature tells his (admittedly) sad tale to his "father", and then demands a mate. Victor, in a panic, agrees, then thinks better of it at the last moment, destroying the new bride. In retaliation, the creature murders all of Victor's loved ones (including his wife), and leads Victor on a merry chase across the world.

Most probably know that Mary Shelley wrote this book in response to a challenge issued by Lord Byron, during a vacation at Lake Geneva. (Along with this story came John Polidori's "The Vampyre", the first English vampire novel.) Most probably also know that Shelley went on to write other works of imaginative gothic fiction.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By CollegeSTudent on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am thoroughly impressed with this edition of Frankenstein. Not only does it include the 1818 edition of Frankenstein, it contains the original 1818 introduction by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the 1831 introduction by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. This edition contains a very nice collection of critical essays. Many of the critical essays focus on feminist readings of Frankenstein, but other readings are represented as well (New Historicism, Intertextual Criticism, Media & Cultural Studies, etc.). This is a fine volume for students looking to delve a little deeper into Frankenstein and the imaginative forces behind it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By BobRobert on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I came across this book I had to buy it. If you're a fan of classic horror, you'll love the story that inspired the movies. But if you're looking for a couple hundred pages of grunts, growls, and "fire bad...arrrrggghhh!" don't buy this book. It's a more intelligent read than that. I won't go into the story itself, most everyone around the world is familiar with the basic premise of the Frankenstein tale.

The book itself is beautiful. If you want eye candy for your bookshelf, this would satisfy any literary sweet tooth. It's a leather bound book. How can you tell it's real leather and not simulated? You stick your nose close to the binding and sniff. If it smells like a brand new pair of Buster Browns it's leather. Along with the leather binding it has quality end pages, the page edges are gilded giving them a nice sheen when the book is closed, and like a good quality bound book it has a sewn in ribbon book mark.

It's been printed in fairly large print on heavy stock paper and is easy to read, but as this work of fiction was penned almost 200 years ago the reading may be a little slow until you get used to the vernacular of the early 1800's. However, there are footnotes throughout the book that define and explain certain words and references that might confuse the modern reader.

This is a true literary classic, no library should be considered complete without this title in the collection. This particular edition would be a beautiful addition to anyone's book collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on November 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sci Fi movie buffs may not recognize the original novel by Mary
Shelley, any more than movie goers would recognize the real Tarzan in ERB's debut book. For this 1818 novel introduces us to a surprisingly articulate monster--who is never named by his idealistic young creator. Its antique literary style offers a tale presented by three different first-person narrators. Letters (tales within a tale) are the inevitable legacy of suicide or premature death before the story is really over.
In contrast, the basic theme appears remarkably modern, especially in the light of 21st century scientific debate over the inherent dangers of too much knowledge (as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)or genetic tampering (The Island of Dr. Moreau). Man is simply not morally csapable to assume the role of creator. Lofty-minded but overwrought Victor Frankenstein conceives the blasphemous idea of creating a living being of gigantic stature. Despite his noble goal of benefitting mankind, the experiment goes grotesquely awry. The youthful natural scientist endures a few years of tortured, morbid existence, which swell to a crescendo of horror as a result of his cerebral "Hybris."
Frankenstein's obsession gradually dominates his life--spilling blood onto those around him, as the people dearest to him are viciously and deliberately murdered. Is there no way to stop the rampage of terror which he has inadvertantly unleashed upon a helpless, unsuspecting world? Linked inexorably by the bonds of unholy creation, both Victor and his monster live only for Revenge. But can either truly be said to be alive, if the other should perish? Are they not mutually dependent on each other to sustain the fires of the hunt? Despite uneven pacing, this thriller/chilller has captured the imagination of kids of all ages for almost two centuries. Bear in mind that Hollywood has transformed the original monster, spawning the idea that Frankenstein Is the monster!
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