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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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Frankenstein (original 1818; edition 2005)

by Mary Shelley, Karen Karbiener (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
24,76244744 (3.81)1288
Member:thatOlJanxSpirit
Title:Frankenstein
Authors:Mary Shelley
Other authors:Karen Karbiener (Introduction)
Info:Barnes & Noble Classics (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, literature, british

Work details

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

  1. 313
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (SanctiSpiritus)
  2. 192
    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. 72
    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. 20
    The Hidden by Richard Sala (Michael.Rimmer)
  10. 31
    Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock (FFortuna)
  11. 21
    The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (Morteana)
  12. 10
    Sielun pimeä puoli : Mary Shelley ja Frankenstein by Merete Mazzarella (GoST)
  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. 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."
  15. 21
    Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (thecoroner)
  16. 32
    The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O'Brien (Anonymous user)
  17. 00
    The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (leigonj)
    leigonj: The romantic elements of Frankenstein are clearly influenced by Goethe's classic of the genre. I was not in the least surprised when it was referred to directly in the text.
  18. 11
    Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (bertilak)
  19. 23
    The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: A modern sequel
  20. 24
    The Merciful Women by Federico Andahazi (Mahlatikka)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (430)  French (4)  Spanish (4)  Danish (3)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  English (447)
Showing 1-5 of 430 (next | show all)
This is absolutely hands-down one of my favorite stories ever. ( )
  Deb_Ann | Nov 25, 2016 |
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus - Mary Shelley
3 stars
Blackstone audio performance by Simon Templeton, Anthony Heald, Stefan Rudnicki

Probably, I should have read this one before I ever saw Young Frankenstein. I’m glad that I finally read the original effort that has inspired so many others. But, as I was reading and listening to Mary Shelley’s pompous, moralizing characters, I kept thinking that it would be so much more fun to watch Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn. From a 21st century perspective, I think I find the genius of the young author more interesting than her creation.
  msjudy | Nov 6, 2016 |
Fantastic! Really great book. Shelley was really ahead of her time. Hated Victor until the end, then I felt bad for him & the monster ( )
  almoskwa92 | Nov 4, 2016 |
Frankenstein is one of those classics that you labour through, admiring its influence and originality without ever quite loving it. The prose style is rather ponderous and overwrought: the book is a lot longer than its 200 page count suggests. The characters are also overly dramatic, engaged throughout in garment-rending and romantic speech. And in spite of its (rightful) claim as the 'first science-fiction story', it spends a disappointingly cursory amount of time actually discussing Frankenstein's experiments and how he assembled his monster.

That said, Frankenstein is much more than the 'ghost story' it famously started out as in Byron's villa. Mary Shelley weaves into the story many more themes; indeed, I was disappointed that there wasn't more straight 'horror'. One of the key morals of the story: that Frankenstein's creation was born good and that it was his observations of and interactions with humankind that made him a monster, is an artful and poignant one. Even if a cultured, well-read, Milton-quoting, eloquent monster (which is what Shelley gives us) is hard to accept. It's certainly far removed from the Boris Karloff image given to us by popular culture.

However, if the novel's headier themes do elevate it above a mere horror story, then it must also be said that one of its key themes also fatally compromises it. You see, Frankenstein is a morality tale which tells us: science is bad. The whole plot is of a young scientist's hubris taking him too far in his experiments into God's prerogative and unleashing a monster onto the innocent world. This monster, a "living monument of presumption and rash ignorance" on the part of its creator (pg. 65), similarly rebels against its creator-ordained nature and starts killing people – described by the doctor as the "victims to my unhallowed arts" (pg. 73). Furthermore, when Frankenstein tries to warn people, his righteous "passionate and indignant appeals were lost" on their "harsh unfeeling reasoning" (pg. 73). Read: he was wrong when he was using cool scientific reason to create the monster, and right now that he is passionate and emotional, and the rest of humanity is wrong for expressing reason and incredulity in the face of his ravings.

And before you think that I'm twisting things to suit my own hobby-horse, let me just quote verbatim Frankenstein's entreaties to the bewildered narrator towards the end of the novel. Coming so explicitly at the end, at the culmination of the plot, it cannot be seen as anything but the moral of the story: "Seek happiness in tranquillity, and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries." (pg. 179; my emphasis). This bookends an earlier sermon about knowing your place under God: "Learn from me… at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow." (pg. 43). The anti-science putdowns are machine-gunned throughout the book, and my disappointment with the novel ceased to be about its leaden, laborious prosing or its sketchy science (though more occult than science) and more about its dangerously false moral; a moral which, as I have said, fatally compromises the force of the book, even if I can still appreciate the originality and imagination that went into its creation. ( )
2 vote MikeFutcher | Oct 31, 2016 |
I enjoyed the book, although it was slow in parts. I'm not fond of descriptions of countryside and travelog-style narrative, and this story had a fair amount of that in it. ( )
  librariabillie | Oct 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (151 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shelley, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldAfterwordsecondary authorall 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
Lehtonen, PaavoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monzó, QuimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munch, PhilippeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruiz, AristedesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seymour, MirandaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wrightson, BernieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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
Dedication
TO
WILLIAM GODWIN
Author of Political Justice, Caleb Williams, &c.
THESE VOLUMES
Are respectfully inscribed
by
THE AUTHOR
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))
Quotations
“ 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.
Last words
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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.

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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)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

» see all 65 descriptions

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