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Frankenstein (Second Edition) (Norton Critical Editions) 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,836 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393927931
ISBN-10: 0393927938
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer's favorite) edition, "The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster--who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel's charnel-house composite--is where [Barry] Moser's illustrations show their greatest power ... The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster's breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world's strongest and most remarkable books." Includes an illuminating afterword by Joyce Carol Oates. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up- The name Frankenstein conjures a host of screen and cartoon images. This radio theatre presentation of Mary Shelley's horror story done by the St. Charles Players uses language compatible with the original text. The script is coupled with appropriate sound effects including some bloodcurdling screams. The combination should encourage student listeners to learn about Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation. There are contemporary issues in this classic novel's themes such as the moral implications of scientific discovery and how one person's zeal for success can affect others. Although the emotional portrayal of multiple deaths is sometimes melodramatic and the wooden speech of the monster is appropriately pathetic, overall the company moves briskly and skillfully through the story. This recording is best suited for use as a classroom aid in introducing or reviewing the book. Also, it might prove valuable to students preparing a radio theatre adaptation. The thin cardboard jacket is not sturdy enough for frequent circulation and cover art is minimal. Cassettes are clearly marked, and each side is announced. This presentation of Frankenstein is a useful but not essential purchase for school libraries.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2 edition (February 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393927938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927931
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,836 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most editions of Mary Shelley's landmark book available today follow the heavily revised 1831 version. The impulse behind this trend is an honorable one (to present what is seemingly an author's "final revision"),but the 1818 version is preferable for many reasons. Looking back on her creation in later life, Shelley felt obliged to alter the book's focus in significant ways, adding what critic Marilyn Butler accurately describes as "long passages in which her main narrator, [Victor] Frankenstein, expresses religious remorse for making a creature..." The author sought to make the 1831 edition less controversial and thereby more palatable to the tastes of the reading public. The 1818 version is closer to Mary Shelley's original intentions, though it too, unfortunately, was filtered through the sensibilities of her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, who took many of his wife's rather straightforward passages and rendered them into his own more ornate and Ciceronian style. Still, the 1818 version remains more vital, more original, and less constrained by what the author believed would be acceptable to readers in 1830s England.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got the free Kindle edition from the link on the page for the Norton Critical Edition of the 1818 text. Mary Shelley made many significant edits to the book for the 1831 edition. I assumed it was the same edition because the link was from the same page. I didn't realize it was different until I went to write my assigned essay and went online to search for page numbers for the passages I wanted to quote. Many of the quotes I wanted to use don't even appear in the original version. This is a very important distinction, and I wish it had been labeled correctly so I would not have had to waste so much time looking for online versions of the correct text in order to replace the quotes I could not use from the later version. This edition is fine if you just want to read the book, but if you're reading it for school, you have more than likely been assigned the 1818 version, which is very different. The Kindle edition is also lacking in any kind of Kindle formatting, making it a hassle to find locations in the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's surprising how many times this novel has been edited and re-created. Or not surprising, since it is so unsettling one wants to rewrite the key scenes and ending to suit modern emotional sensibilities. We had a great book club reading of it where everyone read a different version and we all got different impressions. But the eloquence and genius of Mary Shelley was evident and strong in this version and I find her original impulses (even marrying Victor to his first cousin) pure and quite defensible. This is an enduring masterpiece because we continue to make monsters with technology (and as parents) when we are blinded by our own lust to create, and when we do not take responsibility or show love for the created thing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This "enriched classics" is a bowdlerized version of Mary Shelley's original text. It eliminates passages, changes the diction, abridges the chapters, and changes the entire structure of the novel. Our school bought this edition thinking that the additional notes would be helpful to students studying the text, but there was no indication at all on Amazon's website that this version had been substantially altered by the editors. The book is so bowdlerized that our school bought an entire new set of texts for the students at a considerable finanacial loss for the school. WHATEVER YOU DO, BUY SOME OTHER VERSION OF FRANKENSTEIN. THIS ONE IS A MONSTER CREATED BY SOMEONE WHO HAS NO RESPECT FOR THE AUTHOR. BANTAM, PUFFIN, OXFORD -- THEY ARE ALL FINE. Irene Nicastro, English teacher, The American School of The Hague.
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