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The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter…
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The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein (2008)

by Peter Ackroyd

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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There is no joy without its attendant pain.

Despite the above citation, this was more fun than exemplary. Ackroyd flips the Frankenstein myth with panache. The good doctor hangs out with Shelley and Byron. Science crackles, but only under the penumbra of abject poverty. Mayhew reaches Freud and together pierce Gothic expectations. There’s less a Miltonic fall than a fissure. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I read this right after reading Mary Shelley's original and at first was excited because a historian was telling me what I didn't understand about reading a book written nearly 2 centuries ago whose story took place some years before that. I also (so I hoped) got to continue Frankenstein which I missed reading having unfortunately already finished it.

I was pleased to be gaining a historical perspective but it was immediately obvious that Mary Shelley's writing was in a whole different class from that of Peter Ackroyd. Shelley created life on the page while Ackroyd was just stitching lifelike parts together. Still, I hadn't known much of the science of the times and how electricity being a fluid which could potentially give life to dead matter made a kind of sense then which my modern sensibilities hadn't fully appreciated. Nor was I aware of the politics of Bysshe and Byron and Polidori and the cultural taboos around anatomists and knowledge in general. I also enjoyed being reminded of the story of the golem of Prague which took place maybe a century earlier and (maybe) was known to the intelligentsia of the time and thus an influence on their thinking about the creation of life.

When Frankenstein's sister and Father died early on, I knew that the plot was not going to match the original story and I wondered what these changes would mean in the new plot. It turned out they meant very little at all. Similarly, the monster being made from a single body had no significant function in the changed story. The monster's wish to take revenge on his creator for bringing him into a rejecting world is swiped from the original story which makes this impulse believable, but in its new context falls flat as does the monster's no longer wishing revenge. Similarly, my hope that the phrase that undoes the golem would have a function in this new story remained unsatisfied. I don't want to spoil the surprise ending and reveal more of what disappointed me but rather than catching me unawares, it turned out to be just the cliche I feared it would be.

If you are thinking of reading this, read the original instead, then read some 18th century British cultural & scientific history, and then read Fight Club. ( )
  Gimley_Farb | Jul 6, 2015 |
Victor Frankenstein, a young man from Switzerland, joins Oxford University, where he meets Percy Bysshe Shelley. The two become friends, although their interests only just coincide – Frankenstein wants to understand how life is created, and focuses his investigations on reanimating dead bodies using “the electrical fluid”, whereas Shelley’s investigations are more metaphysical. Even after Shelley is expelled, the two remain close – Frankenstein even moves to London to be near him. In order to further experiment, Frankenstein contacts some “resurrection men” and has them deliver cadavers to his laboratory in Limehouse. Most of his experiments are failures, but when he is handed the body of Jack Keat, a few short hours after he committed suicide (he was dying of consumption), Frankenstein successfully brings him back to life… And you just know the story going to end up at the Villa Diodati. Ackroyd takes a few liberties with Shelley’s life, and Byron comes across as a dickhead, but the whole adds up to an entertaining take on the Frankenstein story and the Romantic poets. The period detail is impressively handled, Frankenstein is a sympathetic narrator, and there are a number of neat touches to the scientific thought of the day which I found amusing. A good book. ( )
  iansales | Feb 22, 2015 |
Loved this book so much a review will be coming. I need to go and discuss this book at the Sandwich in Group. Thank you brenda for finding such a cool book. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Loved this book so much a review will be coming. I need to go and discuss this book at the Sandwich in Group. Thank you brenda for finding such a cool book. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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Peter Ackroydprimary authorall editionscalculated
Асланян, АннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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I was born in the alpine region of Switzerland , my father owning much territory between Geneva and the village of Chamonix where my family resided.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385530846, Hardcover)

Book Description
When two nineteenth-century Oxford students--Victor Frankenstein, a serious researcher, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley--form an unlikely friendship, the result is a tour de force that could only come from one of the world's most accomplished and prolific authors.

This haunting and atmospheric novel opens with a heated discussion, as Shelley challenges the conventionally religious Frankenstein to consider his atheistic notions of creation and life. Afterward, these concepts become an obsession for the young scientist. As Victor begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes. Moving his makeshift laboratory to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, he makes contact with the Doomsday men--the resurrectionists--whose grisly methods put Frankenstein in great danger as he works feverishly to bring life to the terrifying creature that will bear his name for eternity.

Filled with literary lights of the day such as Bysshe Shelley, Godwin, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley herself, and penned in period-perfect prose, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is sure to become a classic of the twenty-first century.

(see all 4 descriptions)

As Victor Frankenstein begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes. Moving his makeshift laboratory to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, he makes contact with the Doomsday men--the resurrectionists--whose grisly methods put Frankenstein in great danger as he works feverishly to bring life to the terrifying creature that will bear his name for eternity.

» see all 8 descriptions

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