- Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (June 1, 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553212478
- ISBN-13: 978-0553212471
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,471 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Frankenstein Reissue Edition
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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.
This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by Wendy Steiner, the chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Scandal of Pleasure.
Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797 in London. She eloped to France with Shelley, whom she married in 1816. After Frankenstein, she wrote several novels, including Valperga and Falkner, and edited editions of the poetry of Shelley, who had died in 1822. Mary Shelley died in London in 1851.
From the Publisher
"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion." A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and a runaway imagination--fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism, and the origins of life--conspired to produce for Marry Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece, Frankenstein. Written in 1816 when she was only nineteen, Mary Shelley's novel of "The Modern Prometheus" chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, Frankenstein remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written and is an undisputed classic of its kind.
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Shelley's prose is often very powerful. There are shades of Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment. Shelley makes extensive use of symbolism--breaking ice, the escape from science into nature, Frankenstein's relation with his monster analogized to God's relationship with man. It doesn't have much of the suspense modern horror so heavily relies upon. It's the kind of book that should make you think long and hard, and much of what you should think long and hard about is not entirely pleasant.
Shelley does sometimes writes in convoluted sentences: "She was tranquil, yet her tranquility [sic] was evidently constrained; and as her confusion had before been adduced as a proof of her guilt, she worked up her mind to an appearance of courage." But that's par for the course with Victorian writing.
I read the Kindle version of Frankenstein offered free through Amazon. I noticed few, if any, errors. This version contains Shelley's 1831 edits (e.g., Elizabeth is a Milanese orphan).
I got this as a gift after I asked for it because I wanted to see what the original story was and how it differed.
It is much more of a human story in this book and it is much slower moving that most adaptations you've seen. The cool this was to see where a lot of the tropes are drawn from. Still a slow moving story but interesting all the same to see where it started.
No one had ever published anything like this before when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. A reader tends to be unaware of the implications of cliches in a seminal work until he or she realizes that the author is inventing those cliches in the course of writing, and that they have been used over and over again in subsequent works of others - sometimes creatively and sometimes not so much.
I suggest tossing aside all the derivatives that have come of young Mary Wollstonecraft's work in the past two hundred-odd years and getting to know this monster of a book on its own peculiar terms.