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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein (1818)

by Mary Shelley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
22,88940652 (3.8)1119
  1. 293
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (SanctiSpiritus)
  2. 182
    The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (Liondancer, artturnerjr)
    Liondancer: another scientist whose creatures get out of control
    artturnerjr: Both books share a similar blend of science fiction and horror.
  3. 171
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (MarcusBrutus, Cecilturtle, LitPeejster)
  4. 71
    The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844: 1814-1822 (Journals of Mary Shelley, July, 1814-1822) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (JessamyJane)
  5. 82
    The Golem by Gustav Meyrink (Kolbkarlsson)
  6. 30
    Grendel by John Gardner (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both books attempt to get into the mind of a monster.
  7. 41
    The Sand Man / The Deserted House by E. T. A. Hoffmann (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Written within a year of each other, Hoffmann's The Sandman and Shelley's Frankenstein both feature man-made beings. And both have been adapted beyond recognition.
  8. 63
    Dracula [Norton Critical Edition] by Bram Stoker (Nubiannut)
  9. 31
    Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock (FFortuna)
  10. 21
    Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (thecoroner)
  11. 54
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are novels about the horrendous consequences that arise from excessive human meddling with nature, i.e. "playing God."
  12. 21
    Revival by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Revival is an homage to Frankenstein
  13. 10
    The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Edition) by Mark Twain (JolieLouise)
    JolieLouise: The Mysterious Stranger is about a creator's treatment of his creation.
  14. 10
    The Hidden by Richard Sala (Michael.Rimmer)
  15. 11
    Sielun pimeä puoli : Mary Shelley ja Frankenstein by Merete Mazzarella (GoST)
  16. 11
    Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (bertilak)
  17. 33
    The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O'Brien (Anonymous user)
  18. 23
    The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: A modern sequel
  19. 24
    The Merciful Women by Federico Andahazi (Mahlatikka)
  20. 46
    Pride And Prometheus by John Kessel (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Pride and Prometheus is a clever and award-winning melding of Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein. Worth reading alongside the original. It won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award, and was nominated for a Hugo and World Fantasy Award.

(see all 21 recommendations)

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English (393)  Danish (3)  French (2)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (405)
Showing 1-5 of 393 (next | show all)

At one time this was my favorite classic novel--I've read it 4 times for 4 different classes and it's amazing how many different interpretations are out there regarding the nature of the monster! One professor believed he didn't exist at all--a figment of Victor's imagination or a manifestation of his oedipus complex. The fact that the men at the end witness the existence of the monster is an example of group hysteria. That's my favorite thesis and I wish I could remember the name of my professor that suggested it to give her credit!
A chilling and complex tale that examines the relationship between man and his creator, feelings of isolation and rejection, and monstrosity. A psychological thriller as much as a horror story. Recommended to lit majors especially!
By the way, this isn't my copy but one from a library book sale. Mine is so full of notes you can barely read the text anymore... ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
It took reading it several times before I came to appreciate how marvelous the story is. The language initially seemed ponderous, but the more familiar it becomes, the easier it is to enjoy. There are so many different ways to look at the story: themes of creation, the Creator vs the Creation, the concept of beauty, a sense of loneliness, a sense of personal identity. How we define ourselves, how we are viewed by others. It's also interesting to read it through the lens that Mary Shelley may have seen herself as the Creature, given how she was raised by her politically radical parents. Definitely worth reading. ( )
1 vote louis.arata | Jul 31, 2015 |
Having watched all of Buffy and the first half of Frankenweenie, it was impossible to not have some pre-conceived notion of the novel. It is thus a pleasant surprise for Frankenstein to turn out to be more of a travelogue - pages upon pages dedicated to the panoramic beauty of Switzerland - and insight into the human/daemon condition than a straightforward horror story. A breezy read with two hundred and twenty pages, mostly likeable characters and breathtaking settings, it is worth reading if only for the cultural background and permission now to correct everybody that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the daemon.

Written simply in three distinct voices, three offer themselves up for judgement and nobody is more flawed than the eponymous scientist. There are novels which offer up scientists as some form of genius perfection or with some silly unobtrusive flaw which inevitably is charming / turns out in their favour. Here, his flaws are so glaring, in his intellect, his ethics and his sense of self, that the story is all the better for it, contrasted with his almost perfect creation - although I probably only say it because I was taken in by his eloquence and insatiable intellect, very admirable traits. The plot does not stay on point the Frankenstein story but instead ventures into travel diary mode and meanders into other people's - still quite interesting - lives and troubles as a novel of its time was wont to do. (half star off)

Minor details:
- for all the beauty-is-only-skin-deep advocates, beauty got an orphan, Elizabeth, out of poverty,
- wouldn't it have been great if it turned out that Justine is some long-con murderer? The plot would have been extraneous but I was hoping beyond hope up until the daemon's confession,
- it is confusing to read daemon and think monster after reading His Dark Materials trilogy,
- the story has taught me that widowed fathers the Frankenstein father and the Turkish father do not care about their daughters' feelings regarding marriage. The former just kept wishing they would get married and the latter wished they would not with seemingly no consultation with the respective daughters. I wonder how much of it was from the author's life. Also, if you have not, go read about the author's (love) life, people in the past ain't so prim and proper. I wonder how much of an effect her mother, who died giving birth to her, but how much of an effect the reputation of her mother affected the author's upbringing and character. ( )
  kitzyl | Jul 26, 2015 |
Frankenstein is one of those books which everybody thinks they know the story but that happens to be totally different from the popular account. The story is multi-layered: A story told in letters giving an account of another life. The most surprising fact is the erudition of Frankenstein's monster that, by the way, speaks French despite being created in Germany (probably out of German body parts) by the troubled existence of Viktor Frankenstein who is from the city of Geneva. The monster learns French by observing a French refugee family in Germany and reading the few books in their library.

The different story lines, protagonists and motifs are a sprawling mess. A modern editor would certainly have triggered a clean-up of the manuscript towards one of these strands as the novel is at times a horror story, a Bildungsroman, travel and adventure writing and even a part-time romance. This complexity has made it very difficult to produce a good movie. Most memorable are certainly the different characters - though not yet imagined as Boris Karloff and the mad scientist. The different scene locations are also featured prominently. Landscape is very important too with scenes in Switzerland, Germany, France, England and the North Pole. ( )
  jcbrunner | Jun 30, 2015 |
I didn't know what to expect from this book, although I did suspect it would be quite unlike the Hollywood and Hammer film versions of it. It is different and surprisingly easy to read, considering its age. I think this is because of the variety of first person narratives and the cleverness of Mary Shelley and her story. I find the basic idea about a proud man creating a monster he can't control still brilliant, shocking and as relevant today as it must have been when it was first written. ( )
  AmiloFinn | Jun 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 393 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (187 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shelley, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Branagh, KennethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casaletto, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Couturiau, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deaver, JefferyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hindle, MauriceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunter, J. PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DianeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karbiener, KarenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehtonen, PaavoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monzó, QuimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruiz, AristedesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seymour, MirandaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiss, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wrightson, BernieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Awards and honors
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
---Paradise Lost, x, 743-5
Author of Political Justice, Caleb Williams, &c.
Are respectfully inscribed
First words
To Mrs Saville, England. St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17--. You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.
The event on which this fiction is founded has been supposed, by Dr. Darwin, and some of the physiological writers of Germany, as not of impossible occurrence. - preface by P.B. Shelley
Mary Shelley: Though her life was fraught with personal tragedy, Mary Shelley was destined for literary greatness. (Barnes and Noble Edition)
Author's Introduction:  The publishers of the Standard Novels, in selecting Frankenstein for one of their series, expressed a wish that I should furnish them with some account of the origin on the story.  (Author's Introduction to the Standard Novels Edition (1831))
“ I had admired the perfect form of my cottagers- their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool . . . and when I was convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.”
"I will be with you on your wedding night!"
It was the wretch, the filthy daemon to whom I had given life!
"I have lately been so engaged in one occupation that I have not allowed myself sufficient rest. But I hope that all those employments are now at an end, and that I am at length free."
I felt the bitterness of disappointment; dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space were now become a hell to me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for Frankenstein. It should not be combined with any abridgement or adaptation.
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Book description
Frankenstein was published in 1818, the work of a 21-year-old genius named Mary Shelley. Hundreds of movies, adaptations, and monster masks later, its reputation remains so lively that the title has become its own word in the English language. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist, discovers the secret of reanimating the dead. After he rejects his hideous creation, not even the farthest poles of the earth will keep his bitter monster from seeking an inhuman revenge. Inspired by a uniquely Romantic view of science’s possibilities, Shelley’s masterpiece ultimately wrestles with the hidden shadows of the human mind.

About the author:

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London in 1797, the daughter of well-known intellectuals. She married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816 and spent much of her adulthood in continental Europe, surrounded by her friends in the English Romantic Movement. Her tumultuous life included the loss of three children in infancy and her husband’s death by drowning in 1822. Nevertheless, her contributions to English literature continue to fascinate and inspire readers and artists alike.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141439475, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:47:18 -0400)

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Presents the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessive experiment that leads to the creation of a monstrous and deadly creature.

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