Frankenstein

Novel, Gothic fiction by Mary Shelley

Blurb

To many readers, who have perhaps known Frankenstein only at second hand, the original may well come as a surprise. When Mary Shelley began it, she was only 18, though she was already Shelley's mistress and Byron's friend. In her preface she explains how she and Shelley spent part of a wet summer with Byron in Switzerland, amusing themselves by reading and writing ghost stories. Her contribution was Frankenstein, a story about a student of natural philosophy who learns the secret of imparting life to a creature constructed from bones he has collected in charnel-houses. The story is not a study of the macabre, as such, but rather a study of how man uses his power, through science, to manipulate and pervert his own destiny, and this makes it a profoundly disturbing book.

First Published

1818

Member Reviews Write your own review

skunk

Skunk

Zu langatmig, Handlung und innerer Wandel zu wenig nachvollziehbar...

0 Responses posted in August
lacarious

Lacarious

Utterly unbelievable characters along with a plot that The Wicker Man (2006) put to shame. There is literally a paragraph that should have read: "Then magic happens! Yay! Also boo and hiss because I have no idea what I'm doing writing this." This novel is about as engaging as watching someone else burn a wart off from their foot. An example: [Warning Spoilers] the "Monster" after his escape (I use that word very loosely because he ran off right after Frankenstein fell into the uncanny valley so hard he broke his skull and hid for the evening) hid in a pantry? wood shed? larder? of a farm house and wasn't noticed for at least six months. During which he learned Swiss German. How? By simply listening to the occupants of the farm house, without context, without anyone to speak to he just picks it up. So what does he do with this skill and the knowledge that people don't like him because of reasons that aren't really clear? He asks the blind occupant of the farm house to be his friend. Shortly after he is found by the other occupants so what does he do? He latches onto the blind man's leg and starts crying while everyone else is freaking out. Not to mention the fact that the "monster" is in almost every way perfect. Strong enough to snap someone's neck, sneaky enough to plant a picture into someone's pocket; stolen from someone's house. The other characters would not be out of place on a short bus. Everyone blatantly disregards any and everything that is going on around them. Another thing that I don't care for is that: the Novel is a letter sent by a sea captain from the retelling by Frankenstein's version of events which also happen to include the "monster"'s point of view to his (the sea captain's ) IIRC fiance. As far as framing for a story that's a bit much. Not to mention that if that's what it took for Mary Shelly to convince her self that suspension of belief was accomplished, I would have to disagree. I would recommend reading this only if nuclear war destroyed the entire world and another species needed to see how at least one earth language was represented but then again I could say the same of twilight or a print out of 4chan green text. The only reason I ended up finishing this was because it was like a train wreck, in slow motion, carrying unbelievable characters, a total disregard for plot, or pacing. Tl;dr imagine Vizini from "The Princess Bride" film writing a book about how smart they are while trying hard to not state out right "Look at how smart I am! Peasant!". Addendum:

0 Responses posted in March
kdganey1991

Kdganey1991

I read this in the fourth grade (granted that it was a version for young people, but still). Amazing.

0 Responses posted in December
tarma

Tarma

Frankenstein is one of those books I reread rarely, and only when I know I'm going to have the stamina to get through it. In fact I find it a particularly good winter read, not only because winter is a great time to curl up in bed on a weekend with a good book that you can thoroughly lose yourself in, but because the subconscious awareness of the weather outside your bedroom window can vividly enhance some of the more desolate scenes to be found in the book. It can be a very slow and very difficult read at times, getting bogged down in medical discussion, theology, and/or philosophy - though I will say that the philosophy, for the most part, I actually found very good. On the other hand, it is also - and I hardly know how to explain it - exquisitely beautiful and consistently horrific. The monster of this book is not the grunting, moaning monster of the movies. He is both erudite and eloquent. That is a great part of what makes him so terrifying - he speaks of humanity but his acts are monstrosities. And yet, his speeches, impassioned and often severely violent, are much of the pleasure in this book. He is also terrifying because he is such an unknown. Victor himself states it best - the monster offers to make peace with him for a price - a mate like himself - but Victor has absolutely no way of knowing if he intends to keep that promise, or if he is even capable of keeping that promise. I find that the whole debate around the monster's right to a mate suggests countless side stories (some of which Victor himself suggests when arguing with the monster as to why he does not wish to create her). What if she does love him, and they vanish forever? What becomes of them? Do they live forever, do they ever find acceptance with anyone else, how do they live and how do they pass their days? Or, on the darker side: what if she does not wish to vanish with him? What if she does not love him? What if she refuses to accept the promise to avoid people, and follows an evil path herself? What if she persuades him to follow the same path, or rejects him and he descends back into the same path individually? These are the many paths my mind follows as I follow the struggle between the man and the monster, and they make the argument all the more difficult to pick a side with. Should I pity the monster? His impassioned pleas for mercy and for a chance at love call for pity - while at the same time his violent threats, his rages and his continued outrages argue that he, poor creature that never asked to be made, must be destroyed for the safety of mankind. Should I pity the man? He, having created the monster in a selfish and arrogant youth, loses his loved ones, his home, his very happiness, and eventually his life, to hunting down the monster that he wss foolish enough to create. But he was also cruel enough to reject it at the moment of its birth, and callous enough that he seemed content to leave it loose in the world, as long as he never had to deal with it again. In the end it is impossible to pick a side, and for that reason the ending, a beautifully (and in the monster's case somewhat ambiguous) written piece in a beautifully written book, is all the more poignant. And while we're discussing the ending, I will note that the first time I read it, I wondered what the point was in setting the first book in an epistolary fashion when it disappears so quickly and seems to have been forgotten. Why not just have it written from Victor's point of view altogether? But in the end I came to appreciate it for what it was. It reappears in the end and behaves in a sort of bookending manner for the tale itself, giving a gentle rising introduction to the main action and horror, and leaving the reader with a few minutes of emotional recovery from the tension that built up to the very last moments of the struggle between the man and the monster. It is a very effective assistant in our return from monsters and horror to the normal, everyday reality that the writer and his correspondent inhabit, and now I love it as much as I love the main story.

0 Responses posted in December
skunk

Skunk

Wunderschoenes verschnoerkeltes Englisch, aber zu langatmig.

0 Responses posted in August
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