Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Mass Market Paperback | May 1, 1984

byMary Shelley

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"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion." A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and a runaway imagination--fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism, and the origins of life--conspired to produce for Marry Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Written in 1816 when she was only nineteen, Mary Shelley's novel of "The Modern Prometheus" chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, Frankenstein remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written and is an undisputed classic of its kind.

Frankenstein

Mass Market Paperback | May 1, 1984
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From Our Editors

Mary Shelley began work on this renowned story in 1916 at age 19, oblivious to the fact that it would 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 Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created has bee...

From the Publisher

"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion." A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and ...

From the Jacket

"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion." A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and ...

The daughter of Mary Wollestonecraft, the ardent feminist and author of A Vindication on the Right of Women, and William Goodwin, the Radical-anarchist philosopher and author of Lives of the Necromancers, Mary Goodwin was born into a freethinking, revolutionary household in London on August 30,1797. Educated mainly by her intellectu...

other books by Mary Shelley

The Penny Dreadfuls: Tales of Horror: Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Penny Dreadfuls: Tales of Horror: Dracula, Frankens...

Hardcover|May 5 2015

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Frankenstein
Frankenstein

Paperback|Oct 15 2013

$17.94 online$20.99list price(save 14%)
Classic Starts?: Frankenstein
Classic Starts?: Frankenstein

Hardcover|Mar 28 2006

$8.50

see all books by Mary Shelley
Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 6.9 × 4.1 × 0.6 inPublished:May 1, 1984Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553212478

ISBN - 13:9780553212471

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Customer Reviews of Frankenstein

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but disturbing This is what happens when you run away from your responsibilities. You create a monster. It's a great classic, and not at all what I expected from what I knew of the story from the movies.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic This book is a classic, and it's still wildly entertaining. I would recommend to anybody looking for a great story!
Date published: 2014-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I've ever read A dark well written novel that makes you wonder who the real monster is
Date published: 2014-09-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Frankenstein Does anyone feel, like I do, that Victor Frankenstein was the monster in this novel? He was the cause of all the destruction but yet thought he was blameless, he sought to lay all blame at the feet of the creature.
Date published: 2013-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Literary Gold. . . Alas, I have not had the delightful pleasure to read this novel since my tender youthful days. The sheer beauty for which this novel was written was wasted on my naïve youthfulness. The plot of this novel is forever iconic and will forever remain in our collective culture. The novel is a tale of a man whose life ambition is to abolish dead from society and preserve life. Instead he creates a being which after completion he rejects, only to have terrible and unfortunate events to follow. I’m forever grateful that I’ve reread Frankenstein, for now I consider it one of my favourite books. I implore anyone who hasn’t read this novel, to go and grab a copy. This is literature at its finest, and from such a young author that such a feat is unfathomable. This is truly a treasure to the world and should be cherished for all eternity.
Date published: 2012-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A moving, disturbing, depressing, but also touching tale Much like Bram Stoker's "Dracula", Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a story we all think we know, but really don't. Very few films have consciously attempted to follow the novel too closely (which shouldn't detract from the excellent James Whale/Boris Karloff film, or its masterpiece-sequel, "The Bride of Frankenstein). Thus, everything popular culture "knows" about "Frankenstein" does not originate from literature, but from films. This is a shame, in a way, because the novel itself is, if not the progenitor, an early vessel of so many archetypes found science fiction and horror. The basic plot remained intact when transferred to other media. Swiss medical student Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of life (which he never reveals, lest someone repeat the mistake). He then puts together a body, essentially a man, from various corpses. He then becomes horrified by the creature he has built, and abandons. The creature, suffering a great deal of neglect and abuse, still manages to get a thorough education, and learns of his lineage. After murdering Victor's younger brother, and framing the family maid, the creature tells his (admittedly) sad tale to his "father", and then demands a mate. Victor, in a panic, agrees, then thinks better of it at the last moment, destroying the new bride. In retaliation, the creature murders all of Victor's loved ones (including his wife), and leads Victor on a merry chase across the world. Most probably know that Mary Shelley wrote this book in response to a challenge issued by Lord Byron, during a vacation at Lake Geneva. (Along with this story came John Polidori's "The Vampyre", the first English vampire novel.) Most probably also know that Shelley went on to write other works of imaginative gothic fiction. Still, her modern reputation rests with this book, understandably. As stated, numerous archetypes (themes, plot lines, characters) are present here. The basic fear of what evil technology may bring along with the good is a central theme, as is the warning against playing God. So is the implicit admonition to be responsible in all things, be it during innovation or being a parent. The creature is, for all intents and purposes, an android-everyone from Gort to C-3PO owe their existence to the Frankenstein monster. And the monster that slays all but one protagonist is a staple of horror, be it traditional monster movies, like "Alien", or more realistic slasher movies like "Halloween". But, as I noted at the beginning of this review, certain of these elements have been lost in most interpretations. The creature is actually intelligent, and well-spoken, quite different from the inarticulate grunts or slow, half-sentences of the movies (again, no disrespect to Karloff). Further, while the films have made lightening a staple of the creatures creation, Shelley never really explains the process (probably knowing that she might interfere with the plausibility of her work). Finally, one of the staples of the films is the explanation for the creatures "evil" nature. Often, the problem lies with the brain used, which almost invariably is a criminal brain, or is damaged before implantation. In the book, the creature is really a child that's horribly neglected, but with the strength and intelligence to strike back: id without superego, and without restraints. Thus, "Frankenstein" will be a new experience for readers who have never experienced it. Unlike "Dracula", there aren't any moments where a reader might look up and suddenly realize how quiet it is in the house, or how dark it's gotten outside. In that regard, "Frankenstein" has not aged particularly well. Throughout, however, it is a moving, disturbing, depressing, but also a touching and beautiful tale. Those qualities have withstood the test of time. While it is not always a rollicking adventure, it is a rewarding read.
Date published: 2009-09-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Classic while I really enjoyed reading this book from a classical lit perspective, people should be ready that it really isn't anything like how the movies portay Frankenstein's monster. It can be a bit wordy at times and a little drawn out at places. Loved it all the same. ^_^
Date published: 2008-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Frankenstein has all the best. The romance, the action and the inner depth of morality. The story is that of passion and the sorrow the "monster" feels throughout his short life and the power of the human soul. At the worst time the beast wanted nothing more than that of comfort and a companion, to which he was denied. A tale of promise and literature and the power and consequence of knowledge. A must for all who read...
Date published: 2006-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I did this for grade 11 eng independent study... ...and it was great. The book was recommended to me by by teacher. I thought, since it was of literary value, that it must be boring. But it is very interesting, and you can actually understand it and relate to it. Before buying the book, I read online reviews and was disappointed because lots os people urged others not to read it. I would recommend this books to others, though. My personal background: I like to read a variety of materials, do well in english, and never read classic novels outside of study purposes.
Date published: 2004-10-23

Extra Content

Read from the Book

VOLUME ILETTER 1To 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. I arrived here yesterday; and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare, and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.I am already far north of London; and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves, and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is for ever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon, and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There--for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators--there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle; and may regulate a thousand celestial observations, that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent for ever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death, and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But, supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven; for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose--a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good uncle Thomas's library. My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my father's dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring life.These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, those poets whose effusions, entranced my soul, and lifted it to heaven. I also became a poet, and for one year lived in a Paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure, and how heavily I bore the disappointment. But just at that time I inherited the fortune of my cousin, and my thoughts were turned into the channel of their earlier bent.Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day, and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventure might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud, when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and intreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness so valuable did he consider my services.And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury; but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing.This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an English stage-coach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs--a dress which I have already adopted; for there is a great difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the post-road between St Petersburgh and Archangel.I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can easily be done by paying the insurance for the owner, and to engage as many sailors as I think necessary among those who are accustomed to the whale-fishing. I do not intend to sail until the month of June; and when shall I return? Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this question? If I succeed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never.Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness.Your affectionate brother, R. WaltonFrom the Hardcover edition.

From Our Editors

Mary Shelley began work on this renowned story in 1916 at age 19, oblivious to the fact that it would 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 Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created has been read by millions all over the world. Maybe it's the madness, maybe it's the darkness or maybe it's the imagination, but surely above all it's the masterful horror that falls from these three elements. It has inspired hundreds of imitations, but it has never been equalled for its masterful manipulation of the elements of horror and suspense.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by Wendy Steiner, the chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Scandal of Pleasure. Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797 in London. She eloped to France with Shelley, whom she married in 1816. After Frankenstein, she wrote several novels, including Valperga and Falkner, and edited editions of the poetry of Shelley, who had died in 1822. Mary Shelley died in London in 1851. "From the Trade Paperback edition."