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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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Frankenstein (1818)

by Mary Shelley

Other authors: Harold Bloom (Afterword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,36349336 (3.81)1 / 1482
  1. 323
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (SanctiSpiritus)
  2. 222
    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. 191
    Dracula by Bram Stoker (MarcusBrutus, Cecilturtle, LitPeejster)
  4. 92
    The Golem by Gustav Meyrink (Kolbkarlsson)
  5. 71
    The Journals of Mary Shelley by Professor Paula R. Feldman (JessamyJane)
  6. 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.
  7. 63
    Dracula [Norton Critical Edition] by Bram Stoker (Nubiannut)
  8. 30
    Grendel by John Gardner (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both books attempt to get into the mind of a monster.
  9. 41
    The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (Morteana)
  10. 20
    Sielun pimeä puoli : Mary Shelley ja Frankenstein by Merete Mazzarella (GoST)
  11. 31
    Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock (FFortuna)
  12. 20
    The Hidden by Richard Sala (Michael.Rimmer)
  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 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.
  15. 10
    Monster by Dave Zeltserman (Crypto-Willobie)
    Crypto-Willobie: A decadent noirish retelling of the Frankenstein story from the monster's point of view.
  16. 32
    The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O'Brien (Anonymous user)
  17. 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."
  18. 21
    Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (thecoroner)
  19. 11
    Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (bertilak)
  20. 23
    The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: A modern sequel

(see all 23 recommendations)

Power (1)
Horror (16)
1810s (3)
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English (473)  Spanish (6)  French (4)  Danish (3)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (493)
Showing 1-5 of 473 (next | show all)
I was so excited to finally get around to reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley this year, but I'm sad to say I didn't enjoy the book AT ALL! It largely came about thanks to a read-along hosted by Noveltea Corner, but let me explain why I loathed reading this.

With a classic as well-known as Frankenstein and having watched various adaptations in TV shows and movies, I thought I knew the basics of the story and how it was written. Turns out I was in for quite a shock.

I've never met such a miserable, self-centred and morbidly depressed character in all my reading life. Victor Frankenstein is an unlikeable character and I wasn't expecting the complicated web of nested narratives implemented to tell the story. The narrator is on a ship writing a letter to his sister, telling her about a person he met (Victor Frankenstein) who conveys his story about creating a daemon. Then we hear the creature's story, as told to Frankenstein, relayed to our narrator and re-told in a letter to his sister. If you thought that was confusing, I agree. At times I almost felt like I was lost in the movie Inception.

Here's another surprise: there is no 'lightning bolt' to animate Frankenstein's creature. In fact, the moment the creature is brought to life happens so quickly you could easily miss it, and one of the other readers participating in the read-along did just that.

Frankenstein is immediately horrified and mortified when he lays eyes on his abominable creation but he 'runs away' and is relieved to find his creation isn't there when he returns with a friend. Why wasn't he curious about where his creation went? Why didn't he destroy his research and dismantle his lab equipment? I found his denial incredibly frustrating.

But this sets the scene for the entire book, which is essentially about Frankenstein's remorse at creating the being and I wasn't buying it. He takes no action to control the situation, he leaves his family in danger and indulges in his self-induced melancholy, remorse, internal torment and inaction to the point of illness; time and time again.

Of course, the creature is unhappy and lonely and asks Frankenstein to create a mate for him. When he refuses and the creature kills his love interest, my heart leapt at the hope the book was going to redeem itself. Surely the creature will force Frankenstein to make him a companion from the corpse of his lost love, but this didn't happen. Perhaps it's my warped 21st Century mind that jumped to this conclusion - it'd be the ultimate revenge for the creature - but it was clearly a lost opportunity for the author in my opinion.

The final insult came when Frankenstein was on his deathbed and asked our narrator to finish the job of tracking and killing the creature. Are you kidding me? He should have done it himself!

I will say the writing is terrific at times, and I did enjoy the phrase 'catalogue of sins' in this quote from the monster on Page 223, although the average reader will find the language quite lofty:
"When I run over the frightful catalogue of sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness."

Although Frankenstein is a short book, it bored me senseless. It might have been groundbreaking in its time, but it doesn't hold up to today's standards. It's kind of like Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but thankfully much shorter. ( )
1 vote Carpe_Librum | Apr 19, 2018 |
This book was not what I expected at all. I have seen various television and movie productions of Frankenstein, and none of them are accurate to the story at all outside of the creation of a "monster" out of dead human parts. The course of the story was very unexpected, and there is not nearly as much sympathy for the monster as I would have expected going into the book. The intellectual side of me very much enjoyed this book as it brings up many good philosophical questions about the meaning of life. It also even has a hint of science fiction in the sense that it looks the question of how would a creature such as this develop into an intelligent being.

I am glad I read this and am surprised that it took me so long to get to it. Recommended for all. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
The science fiction classic that is nothing like the movies and instead filled with angst and a desire for love, not only by the creature, but also by Dr. Frankenstein. The writing of this book is amazing. Mary Shelley has a way with words that make every sentence seem deep and meaningful. The story jumps back and forth between the doctor and the monster, with both of them lamenting about who they are and their acceptance in the world. It is depressing, dark, and suspenseful. The book is about finding meaning and Mary Shelley describes it in a great way. ( )
  renbedell | Apr 9, 2018 |
I really had a love/hate relationship with this book. The print was small. The narrative was long without many breaks. If I planned to read five pages it felt like ten. Yet, the plot & the character were well done. How could they be deficient with a such verbose account of events?

The last 100 pages were the best part. I think this is the first time I might recommend an abridged version because it really was an exciting tale. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
Read this for my classic lit book club. Much different from any of the movies. It was pretty interesting. I did not always agree with the decisions Frankenstein made though. He caused all of his own problems. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 473 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (258 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
Pechmann, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polakovics, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rennerfelt, MonicaTranslatorsecondary 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
(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.

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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.

» see all 105 descriptions

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