Frankenstein

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This article is about a novel by Mary Shelley. For the characters, see Victor Frankenstein and Frankenstein's monster. For the historic German castles and other uses, see Frankenstein (disambiguation).
Frankenstein;
or, The Modern Prometheus
Frankenstein 1818 edition title page.jpg
Volume I, first edition
Author Mary Shelley
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Gothic novel, Horror fiction, Soft science fiction
Published 1818 (Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones)
Pages 280

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London in 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in France in 1823.

Shelley traveled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the River Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim which is just 17 km (10 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where, two centuries before, an alchemist was engaged in experiments.[1][2][3] Later, she traveled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topic of galvanism and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy, Lord Byron and John Polidori decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the novel's story.

Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. At the same time, it is an early example of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story because, in contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results.[4] It has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays.

Since the novel's publication, the name "Frankenstein" has often been used to refer to the monster itself, as it is in the stage adaptation by Peggy Webling. This usage is sometimes considered erroneous, but usage commentators regard it as well-established and acceptable.[5][6][7] In the novel, the monster is identified by words such as "wretch", "creature", "monster", "demon", and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the wretch refers to himself as "the Adam of your labours", and elsewhere as someone who "would have" been "your Adam", but is instead "your fallen angel."

Summary[edit]

A variety of different editions

Frankenstein is written in the form of a frame story that starts with Captain Robert Walton writing letters to his sister. It takes place at an unspecified time in the 18th century, as the letters' dates are given as "17—".

Captain Walton's introductory frame narrative[edit]

The novel Frankenstein is written in epistolary form, documenting a fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville. Walton is a failed writer who sets out to explore the North Pole and expand his scientific knowledge in hopes of achieving fame. During the voyage, the crew spots a dog sled driven by a gigantic figure. A few hours later, the crew rescues a nearly frozen and emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been in pursuit of the gigantic man observed by Walton's crew. Frankenstein starts to recover from his exertion; he sees in Walton the same obsession that has destroyed him, and recounts a story of his life's miseries to Walton as a warning. The recounted story serves as the frame for Frankenstein's narrative.

Victor Frankenstein's narrative[edit]

Victor begins by telling of his childhood. Born in Naples, into a wealthy Genevan family, Victor and his brothers, Ernest and William, all three being sons of Alphonse Frankenstein by the former Caroline Beaufort, are encouraged to seek a greater understanding of the world through science. As a young boy, Victor is obsessed with studying outdated theories that focus on simulating natural wonders. When Victor is five years old, his parents adopt Elizabeth Lavenza, the orphaned daughter of an expropriated Italian nobleman, with whom Victor later falls in love. (During this period, Victor's parents, Alphonse and Caroline, take in yet another orphan, Justine Moritz, who becomes William's nanny.)

Weeks before he leaves for the University of Ingolstadt in Germany, his mother dies of scarlet fever; Victor buries himself in his experiments to deal with the grief. At university, he excels at chemistry and other sciences, soon developing a secret technique to impart life to non-living matter. Eventually, he undertakes the creation of a humanoid, but due to the difficulty in replicating the minute parts of the human body, Victor makes the Creature large, about 8 feet (2.4 m) in height and proportionally large. Despite his intentions, the beautiful creation of his dreams is instead hideous, with yellow eyes and skin that barely conceals the muscle tissue and blood vessels underneath. Repulsed by his work, Victor flees and dismisses him when it awakens. While wandering the streets, he meets his childhood friend, Henry Clerval, and tries to show him his creation, but the Creature has escaped.

Victor falls ill from the experience and is nursed back to health by Henry. After a four-month recovery, he returns home when he learns of the murder of his brother William. Upon arriving in Geneva, Victor sees the Creature near the crime scene and climbing a mountain, leading him to believe his creation is responsible. Justine Moritz, William's nanny, is convicted of the crime after William's locket, which had contained a miniature portrait of Caroline, is found in her pocket. Victor is helpless to stop her from being hanged, as he knows no one would believe his story.

Ravaged by grief and guilt, Victor retreats into the mountains. The Creature finds him and pleads for Victor to hear his tale. Intelligent and articulate, the Creature relates his first days of life, living alone in the wilderness and finding that people were afraid of and hated him due to his appearance, which led him to fear and hide from them. While living in an abandoned structure connected to a cottage, he grew fond of the poor family living there, and discreetly collected firewood for them. Secretly living among the family for months, the Creature learned to speak by listening to them and he taught himself to read after discovering a lost satchel of books in the woods. When he saw his reflection in a pool, he realized his physical appearance was hideous, and it terrified him as it terrifies normal humans. Nevertheless, he approached the family in hopes of becoming their friend. Initially he was able to befriend the blind father figure of the family, but the rest of them were frightened and they all fled their home, resulting in the Creature burning the cottage in a fit of rage. He then swore revenge on his creator for bringing him into a world that hated him. He traveled to Victor's family estate using details from Victor's journal, murdered William, and framed Justine.

The Creature demands that Victor create a female companion like himself. He argues that as a living being, he has a right to happiness. The Creature promises that he and his mate will vanish into the South American wilderness, never to reappear, if Victor grants his request. Should Victor refuse his request, The Creature also threatens to kill Victor's remaining friends and loved ones and not stop until he completely ruins him.

Fearing for his family, Victor reluctantly agrees, with the Creature saying he will secretly watch over Victor's progress. Clerval accompanies him to England, but they separate at Victor's insistence at Perth, Scotland. Victor suspects that the Creature is following him. Working on the female creature on the Orkney Islands, he is plagued by premonitions of disaster, such as the female hating the Creature or becoming more evil that him, but more particularly the two creatures might lead to the breeding of a race that could plague mankind. He tears apart the unfinished female creature after he sees the Creature, who had indeed followed Victor, watching through a window. The Creature later confronts and tries to threaten Victor into working again, but Victor is convinced by the Creature's evil that its mate would be evil as well and they would threaten all humanity. To this, the Creature vows to be with Victor on his upcoming wedding night before leaving, which makes Victor think the Creature's plan is to kill him. When Victor lands in Ireland, he is soon imprisoned for Clerval's murder, as the Creature had strangled Clerval to death and left the corpse to be found where his creator had arrived, causing the latter to suffer another mental breakdown in prison. After being acquitted, Victor returns home with his father, who has restored to Elizabeth some of her father's fortune.

In Geneva, Victor is about to marry Elizabeth and prepares to fight the Creature to the death, arming himself with pistols and a dagger. The night before their wedding, Victor asks Elizabeth to stay in her room while he looks for "the fiend." While Victor searches the house and grounds, the Creature strangles Elizabeth to death. From the window, Victor sees the Creature, who tauntingly points at Elizabeth's corpse; Victor tries to shoot him, but the Creature escapes. That same night, Victor's father dies of grief. Seeking revenge, Victor pursues the Creature to the North Pole, but collapses from exhaustion and hypothermia before he can find his quarry.

Captain Walton's concluding frame narrative[edit]

At the end of Victor's narrative, Captain Walton resumes the telling of the story, closing the frame around Victor's reaccounting. A few days after the Creature vanished, the ship becomes trapped in pack ice and multiple crewmen die in the cold, before the rest of Walton's crew insists on returning south once it is freed. Walton sees Victor's story as a warning, and decides to turn the ship around.

Victor dies shortly thereafter, but not before telling Walton to "avoid ambition". Walton discovers the Creature on his ship, mourning over Victor's body. The Creature tells Walton that Victor's death has not brought him peace; rather, his crimes have left him completely alone. The Creature vows to kill himself on his own funeral pyre so that no others will ever know of his existence. Walton watches as the Creature drifts away on an ice raft that is soon lost in darkness, never to be seen again.

Composition[edit]

Draft of Frankenstein ("It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld my man completed ...")

"How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?" — Mary Shelley[8]

During the rainy summer of 1816, the "Year Without a Summer", the world was locked in a long cold volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.[9] Mary Shelley, aged 18, and her lover (and later husband) Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The weather was consistently too cold and dreary that summer to enjoy the outdoor holiday activities they had planned, so the group retired indoors until dawn.

Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company amused themselves by reading German ghost stories translated into French from the book Fantasmagoriana,[10] then Byron proposed that they "each write a ghost story".[11] Unable to think of a story, young Mary became anxious: "Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative."[12] During one evening in the middle of summer, the discussions turned to the nature of the principle of life. "Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated", Mary noted, "galvanism had given token of such things".[13] It was after midnight before they retired, and unable to sleep, she became possessed by her imagination as she beheld the grim terrors of her "waking dream".[14]

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. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.[15]

In September 2011, astronomer Donald Olson, after a visit to the Lake Geneva villa the previous year, and inspecting data about the motion of the moon and stars, concluded that her "waking dream" took place "between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m." on 16 June 1816, several days after the initial idea by Lord Byron that they each write a ghost story.[16]

She began writing what she assumed would be a short story. With Percy Shelley's encouragement, she expanded the tale into a full-fledged novel.[17] She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment "when I first stepped out from childhood into life".[18] Shelley wrote the first four chapters in the weeks following the suicide of her half-sister Fanny.[19] Byron managed to write just a fragment based on the vampire legends he heard while travelling the Balkans, and from this John Polidori created The Vampyre (1819), the progenitor of the romantic vampire literary genre. Thus two legendary horror tales originated from the conclave.

The group talked about Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment ideas as well. Shelley believed the Enlightenment idea that society could progress and grow if political leaders used their powers responsibly; however, she also believed the Romantic ideal that misused power could destroy society (Bennett 36–42).[20]

Mary's and Percy Bysshe Shelley's manuscripts for the first three-volume edition in 1818 (written 1816–1817), as well as Mary Shelley's fair copy for her publisher, are now housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Bodleian acquired the papers in 2004, and they belong now to the Abinger Collection.[21] In 2008, the Bodleian published a new edition of Frankenstein, edited by Charles E. Robinson, that contains comparisons of Mary Shelley's original text with Percy Shelley's additions and interventions alongside.[22]

Publication[edit]

Shelley completed her writing in May 1817, and Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published on 11 March 1818[23] by the small London publishing house Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones.[24][25] It was issued anonymously, with a preface written for Mary by Percy Bysshe Shelley and with a dedication to philosopher William Godwin, her father. It was published in an edition of just 500 copies in three volumes, the standard "triple-decker" format for 19th-century first editions.

The second edition of Frankenstein was published on 11 August 1822 in two volumes (by G. and W. B. Whittaker) following the success of the stage play Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein by Richard Brinsley Peake;[26] this edition credited Mary Shelley as the author.

On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley.[27] This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially because of pressure to make the story more conservative. It included a new, longer preface by herself, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition tends to be the one most widely read now, although editions containing the original 1818 text are still published.[28] Many scholars prefer the 1818 text, arguing that it preserves the spirit of Shelley's original publication (see Anne K. Mellor's "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach" in the W. W. Norton Critical edition).

Frankenstein and the Monster[edit]

The creature[edit]

An English editorial cartoonist conceives the Irish Fenian movement as akin to Frankenstein's creature, in the wake of the Phoenix Park murders.
Illustration from an 1882 issue of Punch[29]

Part of Frankenstein's rejection of his creation is the fact that he does not give it a name, which causes a lack of identity. Instead it is referred to by words such as "wretch", "monster", "creature", "demon", "devil", "fiend", and "it". When Frankenstein converses with the creature in Chapter 10, he addresses it as "vile insect", "abhorred monster", "fiend", "wretched devil", and "abhorred devil".

During a telling of Frankenstein, Shelley referred to the creature as "Adam".[30] Shelley was referring to the first man in the Garden of Eden, as in her epigraph:

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
John Milton, Paradise Lost (X. 743–5)

Although the creature would be described in later works as a composite of whole body parts grafted together from cadavers and reanimated by the use of electricity, this description is not entirely consistent with Shelley's work; both the use of electricity and the cobbled-together image of Frankenstein's monster were more the result of James Whale's popular 1931 film adaptation of the story, and other early motion-picture works based upon the creature. In Shelley's original work, Dr. Frankenstein discovers a previously unknown but elemental principle of life, and that insight allows him to develop a method to imbue vitality into inanimate matter, though the exact nature of the process is left largely ambiguous. After a great deal of hesitation in exercising this power, the doctor spends two years painstakingly constructing the creature's body (one anatomical feature at a time, from raw materials supplied by "the dissecting room and the slaughter-house"), which he then brings to life using his unspecified process.

The creature has often been mistakenly called "Frankenstein". In 1908 one author said "It is strange to note how well-nigh universally the term "Frankenstein" is misused, even by intelligent people, as describing some hideous monster".[31] Edith Wharton's The Reef (1916) describes an unruly child as an "infant Frankenstein."[32] David Lindsay's "The Bridal Ornament", published in The Rover, 12 June 1844, mentioned "the maker of poor Frankenstein." After the release of Whale's cinematic Frankenstein, the public at large began speaking of the creature itself as "Frankenstein". This also occurs in Frankenstein films, including Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and several subsequent films, as well as in film titles such as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Furthermore, future renditions and adaptations of the story include an evil laboratory assistant Igor/Ygor, who does not actually exist within the original narrative.

Victor Frankenstein's surname[edit]

Mary Shelley maintained that she derived the name Frankenstein from a dream-vision. Despite her public claims of originality, however, a number of other sources have been suggested as Shelley's actual inspiration. The German name Frankenstein means "stone of the Franks", and it is associated with various places in Germany, including Frankenstein Castle (Burg Frankenstein) in Darmstadt, Hesse, and Frankenstein Castle in Frankenstein, a town in the Palatinate. There is also a castle called Frankenstein in Bad Salzungen, Thuringia, and a municipality called Frankenstein in Saxony. Until 1945, Ząbkowice Śląskie, now a city in Silesia, Poland, was named Frankenstein in German, and was the site of a scandal involving gravediggers in 1606, which has been suggested as an inspiration to the author.[citation needed] Finally, the name is borne by the aristocratic House of Franckenstein from Franconia.

Radu Florescu argues that Mary and Percy Shelley visited Frankenstein Castle near Darmstadt in 1814 during their return to England from their elopement to Switzerland. It was at this castle that a notorious alchemist, Conrad Dippel, had experimented with human bodies, and Florescu reasons that Mary suppressed mention of her visit in order to maintain her public claim of originality.[33] A literary essay by A. J. Day supports Florescu's position that Mary Shelley knew of and visited Frankenstein Castle before writing her debut novel.[34] Day includes details of an alleged description of the Frankenstein castle that exists in Mary Shelley's 'lost' journals. According to Jörg Heléne, the 'lost journals', as well as Florescu's claims, cannot be verified.[35]

Victor Frankenstein's given name[edit]

Main article: Victor Frankenstein

A possible interpretation of the name Victor is derived from Paradise Lost by John Milton, a great influence on Shelley (a quotation from Paradise Lost is on the opening page of Frankenstein and Shelley even has the monster himself read it).[36][37] Milton frequently refers to God as "the Victor" in Paradise Lost, and Shelley sees Victor as playing God by creating life. In addition, Shelley's portrayal of the monster owes much to the character of Satan in Paradise Lost; indeed, the monster says, after reading the epic poem, that he empathizes with Satan's role in the story.

There are many similarities between Victor and Percy Shelley, Mary's husband. Victor was a pen name of Percy Shelley's, as in the collection of poetry he wrote with his sister Elizabeth, Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire.[38] There is speculation that one of Mary Shelley's models for Victor Frankenstein was Percy, who at Eton had "experimented with electricity and magnetism as well as with gunpowder and numerous chemical reactions", and whose rooms at Oxford were filled with scientific equipment.[39]

Percy Shelley was the first-born son of a wealthy country squire with strong political connections and a descendant of Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet of Castle Goring, and Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel.[40] Victor's family is one of the most distinguished of that republic and his ancestors were counselors and syndics. Percy had a sister named Elizabeth; Victor had an adopted sister named Elizabeth.

On 22 February 1815, Mary Shelley gave birth to a baby two months prematurely, and the baby died two weeks later. Percy did not care about the condition of this premature infant and left with Claire, Mary's stepsister, for a lurid affair.[41] When Victor saw the creature come to life he fled the apartment, though the newborn creature approached him, as a child would a parent. The question of Victor's responsibility to the creature is one of the main themes of the book.

Modern Prometheus[edit]

The Modern Prometheus is the novel's subtitle (though some modern editions now drop the subtitle, mentioning it only in an introduction).[42] Prometheus, in later versions of Greek mythology, was the Titan who created mankind at the behest of Zeus. He made a being in the image of the gods that could have a spirit breathed into it.[43] Prometheus taught man to hunt, read, and heal their sick, but after he tricked Zeus into accepting poor-quality offerings from humans, Zeus kept fire from mankind. Prometheus, being the creator, took back the fire from Zeus to give to man. When Zeus discovered this, he sentenced Prometheus to be eternally punished by fixing him to a rock of Caucasus, where each day an eagle would peck out his liver, only for the liver to regrow the next day because of his immortality as a god. He was intended to suffer alone for eternity, but eventually Heracles (Hercules) released him.

Prometheus was also a myth told in Latin, but was a very different story. In this version Prometheus makes man from clay and water, again a very relevant theme to Frankenstein, as Victor rebels against the laws of nature (how life is naturally made) and as a result is punished by his creation.

In 1910, Edison Studios released the first motion-picture adaptation of Shelley's story.

The Titan in the Greek mythology of Prometheus parallels Victor Frankenstein. Victor's work by creating man by new means reflects the same innovative work of the Titan in creating humans.

Some have claimed that Mary Shelley saw Prometheus not as a hero but rather as something of a devil, and blamed him for bringing fire to man and thereby seducing the human race to the vice of eating meat (fire brought cooking which brought hunting and killing).[44]

Byron was particularly attached to the play Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, and Percy Shelley would soon write his own Prometheus Unbound (1820). The term "Modern Prometheus" was actually coined by Immanuel Kant in reference to Benjamin Franklin and his experiments with electricity.[45]

Shelley's sources[edit]

Shelley incorporated a number of different sources into her work, one of which was the Promethean myth from Ovid. The influence of John Milton's Paradise Lost, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, are also clearly evident within the novel. Mary is likely to have acquired some ideas for Frankenstein's character from Humphry Davy's book Elements of Chemical Philosophy, in which he had written that "science has ... bestowed upon man powers which may be called creative; which have enabled him to change and modify the beings around him ...". References to the French Revolution run through the novel; a possible source may lie in François-Félix Nogaret's Le Miroir des événemens actuels, ou la Belle au plus offrant (1790): a political parable about scientific progress featuring an inventor named Frankénsteïn who creates a life-sized automaton.[46]

Within the past thirty years or so, many writers and historians have attempted to associate several then popular natural philosophers (now called physical scientists) with Shelley's work on account of several notable similarities. Two of the most notable natural philosophers among Shelley's contemporaries were Giovanni Aldini, who made many public attempts at human reanimation through bio-electric Galvanism in London[47] and Johann Konrad Dippel, who was supposed to have developed chemical means to extend the life span of humans. While Shelley was obviously aware of both these men and their activities, she makes no mention of or reference to them or their experiments in any of her published or released notes.

Reception[edit]

Illustration by Theodor von Holst from the frontispiece of the 1831 edition[48]

The initial critical reception of the book was mostly unfavorable, compounded by confused speculation as to the identity of the author. Sir Walter Scott wrote that "upon the whole, the work impresses us with a high idea of the author's original genius and happy power of expression", but the Quarterly Review described it "a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity".

Mary Shelley had contact with some of the most influential minds of her time. Shelley's father, William Godwin, was very progressive and encouraged his daughter to participate in the conversations that took place in his home with various scientific minds, many of whom were actively engaged in the study of anatomy. She was familiar with the ideas of using dead bodies for study, the newer theory of using electricity to animate the dead, and the concerns of religion and the general public regarding the morality of tampering with God's work.[citation needed]

Despite the reviews, Frankenstein achieved an almost immediate popular success. It became widely known especially through melodramatic theatrical adaptations—Mary Shelley saw a production of Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein, a play by Richard Brinsley Peake, in 1823. A French translation appeared as early as 1821 (Frankenstein: ou le Prométhée Moderne, translated by Jules Saladin).

Frankenstein has been both well received and disregarded since its anonymous publication in 1818. Critical reviews of that time demonstrate these two views. The Belle Assemblee described the novel as "very bold fiction" (139). The Quarterly Review stated that "the author has the power of both conception and language" (185). Sir Walter Scott, writing in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine congratulated "the author's original genius and happy power of expression" (620), although he is less convinced about the way in which the monster gains knowledge about the world and language.[49] The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany hoped to see "more productions from this author" (253).

In two other reviews where the author is known as the daughter of William Godwin, the criticism of the novel makes reference to the feminine nature of Mary Shelley. The British Critic attacks the novel's flaws as the fault of the author: "The writer of it is, we understand, a female; this is an aggravation of that which is the prevailing fault of the novel; but if our authoress can forget the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment" (438). The Literary Panorama and National Register attacks the novel as a "feeble imitation of Mr. Godwin's novels" produced by the "daughter of a celebrated living novelist" (414).

Despite these initial dismissals, critical reception has been largely positive since the mid-20th century.[50] Major critics such as M. A. Goldberg and Harold Bloom have praised the "aesthetic and moral" relevance of the novel[51] and in more recent years the novel has become a popular subject for psychoanalytic and feminist criticism.[citation needed] The novel today is generally considered to be a landmark work of romantic and gothic literature, as well as science fiction.[52]

In his 1981 non-fiction book Danse Macabre, author Stephen King considers Frankenstein's monster (along with Dracula and the Werewolf) to be an archetype of numerous horrific creations that followed in literature, film, and television, in a role he refers to as "The Thing Without A Name." He considers such contemporary creations as the 1951 film The Thing from Another World and The Incredible Hulk as examples of similar monstrosities that have followed in its wake. He views the book as "a Shakespearean tragedy" and argues: "its classical unity is broken only by the author's uncertainty as to where the fatal flaw lies—is it in Victor's hubris (usurping a power that belongs only to God) or in his failure to take responsibility for his creation after endowing it with the life-spark?"[53]

Frankenstein discussed controversial topics and touched on religious ideas. Victor Frankenstein plays God when he creates a new being. Frankenstein deals with Christian and metaphysical themes. The importance of Paradise Lost and the creature's belief that it is "a true history" brings a religious tone to the novel.[54]

Derivative works[edit]

There are numerous novels retelling or continuing the story of Frankenstein and his monster.

For more details on derivative works, see Frankenstein in popular culture.

Films, plays and television[edit]

A photo of Charles Ogle as Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein, circa 1910
A promotional photo of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster, using Jack Pierce's makeup design
Loose adaptations

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hobbler, Dorthy and Thomas. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein. Back Bay Books; 20 August 2007.
  2. ^ Garrett, Martin. Mary Shelley. Oxford University Press, 2002
  3. ^ Seymour, Miranda. Mary Shelley. Atlanta, GA: Grove Press, 2002. pg 110-111
  4. ^ The Detached Retina: Aspects of SF and Fantasy by Brian Aldiss (1995), page 78.
  5. ^ Bergen Evans, "Comfortable Words," New York: Random House, 1957
  6. ^ Bryan Garner, "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage", New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
  7. ^ "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of American English", Merriam-Webster: 2002
  8. ^ "Preface", 1831 edition of Frankenstein
  9. ^ Sunstein, 118.
  10. ^ Dr. John Polidori, "The Vampyre" 1819, The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register; London: H. Colburn, 1814–1820. Vol. 1, No. 63.
  11. ^ paragraph 7, Introduction, Frankenstein 1831 edition
  12. ^ paragraph 8, Introduction, Frankenstein 1831 edition
  13. ^ paragraph 10, Introduction, Frankenstein 1831 edition
  14. ^ Shelley, Mary. Paragraphs 11–13, "Introduction" Frankenstein (1831 edition) Gutenberg
  15. ^ Quoted in Spark, 157, from Mary Shelley's introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein.
  16. ^ Radford, Tim, Frankenstein's hour of creation identified by astronomers, The Guardian, Sunday 25 September 2011 (retrieved 5 January 2014)
  17. ^ Bennett, An Introduction, 30–31; Sunstein, 124.
  18. ^ Sunstein, 117.
  19. ^ Hay, 103.
  20. ^ Bennett, Betty T. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: An Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
  21. ^ "OX.ac.uk". Bodley.ox.ac.uk. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  22. ^ Mary Shelley, with Percy Shelley (2008). Charles E. Robinson, ed. The Original Frankenstein. Oxford: Bodleian Library. ISBN 978-1-851-24396-9. 
  23. ^ Walling, Willaim (1972). Mary Shelley. Twayne Publishers. p. 10. On March 11, Frankenstein is published; Mary and Shelley leave for Italy. 
  24. ^ Bennett, Betty T. Mary Wollstonecraft. Shelley: An Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998
  25. ^ D. L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf, "A Note on the Text", Frankenstein, 2nd ed., Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1999.
  26. ^ [1] Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Frankenstein Bedford Publishing (2000) pg 3
  27. ^ See forward to Barnes and Noble classic edition.
  28. ^ The edition published by Forgotten Books is the original text, as is the "Ignatius Critical Edition". Vintage Books has an edition presenting both versions.
  29. ^ Frankenstein:Celluloid Monster at the National Library of Medicine website of the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health
  30. ^ "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature / Exhibit Text" (PDF). National Library of Medicine and ALA Public Programs Office. Retrieved 31 December 2007. [dead link] from the traveling exhibition Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature
  31. ^ Author's Digest: The World's Great Stories in Brief, by Rossiter Johnson, 1908
  32. ^ The Reef, page 96.
  33. ^ Florescu 1996, pp. 48–92.
  34. ^ This essay was included in the 2005 publication of Fantasmagoriana, the first full English translation of the book of 'ghost stories' that inspired the literary competition resulting in Mary's writing of Frankenstein.
  35. ^ [2] Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Castle Frankenstein and the alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel
  36. ^ Wade, Phillip. "Shelley and the Miltonic Element in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Milton and the Romantics, 2 (December, 1976), 23–25.
  37. ^ Jones 1952, pp. 496–7.
  38. ^ Sandy, Mark (20 September 2002). "Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire". The Literary Encyclopedia. The Literary Dictionary Company. Retrieved 2 January 2007. 
  39. ^ "Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)". Romantic Natural History. Department of English, Dickinson College. Retrieved 2 January 2007. 
  40. ^ Percy Shelley#Ancestry
  41. ^ "Journal 6 December—Very Unwell. Shelley & Clary walk out, as usual, to heaps of places ... A letter from Hookham to say that Harriet has been brought to bed of a son and heir. Shelley writes a number of circular letters on this event, which ought to be ushered in with ringing of bells, etc., for it is the son of his wife." Quoted in Spark, 39.
  42. ^ For example, the Longman study edition published in India in 2007 by Pearson Education
  43. ^ In the best-known versions of the Prometheus story, by Hesiod and Aeschylus, Prometheus merely brings fire to mankind. But in other versions, such as several of Aesop's fables (See in particular Fable 516), Sappho (Fragment 207), and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Prometheus is the actual creator of humanity.
  44. ^ (Leonard Wolf, p. 20).
  45. ^ RoyalSoc.ac.uk "Benjamin Franklin in London." The Royal Society. Retrieved 8 August 2007.
  46. ^ Douthwaite, "The Frankenstein of the French Revolution" chapter 2 of The Frankenstein of 1790 and other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France (Frankenstein of 1790 and other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France, 2012).
  47. ^ Ruston, Sharon (25 November 2015). "The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein". The Public Domain Review. 
  48. ^ This illustration is reprinted in the frontispiece to the 2008 edition of Frankenstein
  49. ^ "Crossref-it.info". Crossref-it.info. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  50. ^ "Enotes.com". Enotes.com. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  51. ^ "KCTCS.edu". Octc.kctcs.edu. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  52. ^ UTM.edu Lynn Alexander, Department of English, University of Tennessee at Martin. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  53. ^ Stephen King: Danse Macabre, Everest House, 1981, ISBN 978-0896961005
  54. ^ Ryan, Robert M. Mary Shelley's Christian Monster. University of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 22 October 2011. http://www.english.upenn.edu/Projects/knarf/Articles/ryan.html.
  55. ^ Lawson, Shanon (11 February 1998). "A Chronology of the Life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: 1825–1835". umd.edu. Retrieved 8 July 2008. 
  56. ^ Blood on the Stage, 1950–1975: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery and Detection, by Amnon Kabatchnik. Scarecrow Press, 2011, p. 300
  57. ^ Lawson, Carol (7 January 1981). ""FRANKENSTEIN" NEARLY CAME BACK TO LIFE". New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  58. ^ Hickling, Alfred (20 March 2011). "Frankenstein's Wedding – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  59. ^ "Announcing FRANKENSTEIN, a new interactive literary app for iPad and iPhone". Profile Books. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  60. ^ Hello Igor... Daniel Radcliffe gets into character on the set of the brand new Frankenstein movie, The Daily Mail
  61. ^ "Frankenstein 4–27 May 2016. Main Stage. The world premiere of Liam Scarlett's new full-length ballet, inspired by Mary Shelley's Gothic masterpiece". roh.org.uk. Royal Opera House. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  62. ^ Slavin, Rose (11 May 2016). "Frankenstein to be relayed live to BP Big Screens in the UK and cinemas around the world on 18 May 2016". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  63. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs". American Film Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  64. ^ LaFarge, Antoinette, and Annie Loui. "Excerpts from Reading Frankenstein: Mary Shelley as 21st Century Artificial Life Scientist". Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology, Fall 2013.
  65. ^ http://jeuvideo.afjv.com/press_0912/091216_hdo_aventure.htm
  66. ^ A Nightmare On Lime Street – Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

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External links[edit]