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Frankenstein: The 1818 Text (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 16, 2018
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“Gordon’s framing is the real standout of the anniversary edition (…) Highly recommended.”
—N. K. Jemisin, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Mary Shelley was born in London in 1797, daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, famous radical writers of the day. In 1814 she met and soon fell in love with the then-unknown Percy Bysshe Shelley. In December 1816, after Shelley’s first wife committed suicide, Mary and Percy married. They lived in Italy from 1818 until 1822, when Shelley drowned, whereupon Mary returned to London to live as a professional writer of novels, stories, and essays until her death in 1851.
Charlotte Gordon’s previous publications include Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley (2015), Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America’s First Poet (2005), and The Woman Who Named God: Abraham’s Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths (2009). Romantic Outlaws was the winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. Currently, she is the distinguished professor of the humanities at Endicott College.
Charles E. Robinson, was professor of English at the University of Delaware, frequently lectured on “The Ten Texts of Frankenstein” and edited Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus: The Original Two-Volume Novel of 1816-1817 from the Bodleian Library Manuscripts, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (with Percy Bysshe Shelley) (2008), reprinted in paperback by Vintage Books (2009). His other books included Shelley and Byron: The Snake and Eagle Wreathed in Fight (1976) and an edition of Mary Shelley: Collected Tales and Short Stories, with Original Engravings (1976); The Mary Shelley Reader (1990), coedited with Betty T. Bennett; and an edition of Mary Shelley’s Mythological Dramas: Proserpine and Midas (1992) as well as the two-volume Frankenstein Notebooks (1996).
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That all changed once Walton rescued Victor Frankenstein from the icy sea near the North Pole. Frankenstein's story is great on a couple levels. First, the thriller element still has its appeal. You are fascinated that Victor has created life and you wonder at the consequences. You are sympathetic to the monster's plight, being alone in the world, considered grotesque by all those who see him. You want Felix, Agatha and their father to accept him. You want him to have a companion. And you are shocked at his murderous way of dealing with his loneliness.
The overlying themes of love, friendship, loneliness and loss enrich this story and the question of whether Frankenstein has the right to create life makes you think about the larger responsibilities of man to his fellow man. Frankenstein pays dearly when he destroys the monster's female counterpart. The monster's shocking reaction and Frankenstein's horror, his mental collapses and the race against time make this story a true thriller.
The story within a story within a story, etc. is an interesting structure, and not too hard to follow. This style and the letter-writing format are the only things that make Frankenstein seem less modern, but they are minor points.
Note: I read the free Kindle version and I have seen a lot of debate over which version is the one to read. Shelley published then later edited and republished a second version. I believe the free one is the first edition. No complaints or criticisms. It was free and I enjoyed it!
The first pages take place in the Arctic, yes, that's right, the Arctic, of all places... and the book then follows it's original course after that... more threatening, more psychologically terrifying than expected. Frankly, this is one heck of an enjoyable story, and, if you need some relief after finishing this mesmerizing tale, than watch 'Young Frankenstein', perhaps the funniest movie I have ever seen, but that is for another time... got the nerve...? ...then read the original 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley...
Most recent customer reviews
This was a very mediocre novel. I had to read this one for school and I don't think I would have ever picked it up otherwise.Read more