Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.
Review From Customer
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.
Review From the Back Cover
At this challenge, Mary Shelley began work on the ‘ghost story’ that was to evolve into the most celebrated horror novel in literary history. Frankenstein was published the next year and become the rage of London. In the generations since, the story of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created has been read by millions all over the world. It has inspired hundreds of imitations, but it has never been equaled for its masterful manipulation of the elements of horror and suspense.