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Frankenstein: or `The Modern Prometheus': The 1818 Text (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 14 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reprint edition (14 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199537151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537150
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'makes the original 1818 text easily available, and there are good reasons for welcoming it ... Butler's introduction is a rich essay in historical contextualisation, emphasising the Shelleys' early links with materialist physiology and showing how the 1831 edition reflected the broad intellectual changes of the intervening years.'The English Association

'this edition is worth a browse'Daily Telegraph

'The excellent introduction discusses the circumstances of its writing in the wider context of social and scientific controversy.'Good Book Guide, January 1995

Book Description

As the poster for the movie had it: 'Be warned...' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ian Thumwood on 22 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
In the past I have read several science fiction "classics" such as "War of the worlds", "The Lost World" and several Jules Verne and it is probably been fair to say that these books have been undone by "science fact" with their enduring appeal proabably assisted by Hollywood films or BBC productions. These books have proved to be hugely disappointing and frequently very poorly written. Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is saturated in the melodrama of her age but the quality of the writing and the true horror in many instances genuinely mark this book up as a classsic.

The most striking thing is just how different this book is from your perception. I was surprised just how little I actually knew of the story as it bears no resemblance to any film about "Frankenstein" I have seen. In fact, Shelley offers very little physical description of her "daemon" and the horror of the narrative stems from the fact that the monster has almost super-human powers with which to torment his creator Victor Frankenstein. I was fascinated by the first third of the book and by the time I had read with disbelief that the story could take such a turn concerning the machinations that brought about the fate of the character Justine, I was totally hooked. Oddly for a book of the early 19th Century, the story does not conclude with a totally satisfactory ending and the monster's intended fate would definately have shocked the audience of the time. Part of the book's success stems from the fact that the monster is extremely intelligent and has a strong conscience yet remains hell bent on bringing about the most terrible destruction of the things his creator holds dear.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those classic novels, “The Great Gatsby” is another”, that I have never been able to love. Despite many readings and having taught both at various levels, the qualities that so many admire elude me. It is not a matter of style, at least not in the sense that some find the book hard to cope with. For me the great Victorian novels of Dickens, George Eliot, the Brontes, Elizabeth Gaskell, through to Henry James et al remain a source of almost unqualified delight. “Frankenstein” was published earlier, of course, but so too were the works of Jane Austen, whose novels are almost worth reading for the aesthetic rewards of style alone.

The book is grounded in a rich tradition of cultural and scientific thought and Mary Shelley could scarcely have enjoyed a more intellectually stimulating upbringing. Few books are so widely allusive. It is in fact first and foremost a novel of ideas and I suspect that most probably explains my personal difficulties in establishing a close affinity with it. It is rooted not in the rich detail of palpable actuality, but in social, political, scientific issues. That is admittedly a crude distinction, but a review here is not the place for a detailed thesis. “Brave New World” might offer some sort of more recent equivalent if the parallel is not pushed too far. Against these books I would place the likes of “Mansfield Park”, “Bleak House”, “Wuthering Heights” and much more recently the admirable work of Sarah Waters and Donna Tartt.

There is virtually no dialogue in “Frankenstein”. What we have are extended monologues, often portentous in tone and style. The shifts from what seem to me to be rather stilted narrative to extravagantly hyperbolic emotional statements are both alien to expressive modern English.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rossettian on 7 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I was probably blessed in that, before I read this hands-down classic, I hadn't seen any film adaptations of it, not even the famous 1931 version that created the iconic Halloween costume. I had a faint inkling of the story but not much else and I'm more than glad that I began reading with little of these preconceptions, and thus finishing it made it all the more worthwhile. This is one of those books that leaves you with the "I've just read a classic" feeling.

Using the letters of Walton, captain of an Arctic vessel, as a the framing device, Shelley is able to launch the reader into her dark world of galvanism and horror that truly pigeonhole this novel into the Gothic genre. The brutality of the things inflicted upon the poor Victor Frankenstein by his creation are told with a gripping and intense voice, one that speaks often about his traumatised mind - it is for this reason that I have dropped one star from five, as at a few points in the novel I felt that these passages were a little too excessive and rambling, but it is this psychological depth that gives the book its impact. It's rare that I feel genuinely sorry for a character, but Victor Frankenstein is now an exception due to the sheer number of tragedies that befall him.

Similar to other novels of the genre such as The Monk, several of the chapters are taken up by an account given by the Monster himself, something which I never expected - I was under the impression due to Hollywood cliches that the creature couldn't talk! This narrative is in itself heartbreaking, due to the Monster's lack of human contact, his slow shunning of society and his descent into bitter twistedness that forces him to commit all manner of terrifying deeds.
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