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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 (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jesper Mikkelsen on 6 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The story of Frankenstein and his "monster" needs no introduction! But a few words should be written about this edition from Dark Horse Comics. First of all, NO its not a comicbook. It is a beautifully produced, oversized hardcover edition with the entire text of the novel, bound in black cloth, smythsewn binding, gorgeously printed on thick semi-glossy paper. The real star here though, are the many fullpage black-and-white illustrations by legendary comicbook artist Bernie Wrightson. These simply has to be seen to be believed, they make reading the story a whole new experience.
Frankenstein has been published with Wrightson's artwork before, but it has never looked so good as in this edition, and at the low price its a real bargain.
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 6 April 2013
Format: Paperback
Put all thoughts of Hammer Horror to one side as Mary Shelley's intriguing and provocative tale is nothing like the rather bad films and adaptations it has spawned. Structured as an embedded series of narratives told by Robert Walton, an explorer; Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who plays god; and the significantly unnamed `creature', this tale engages with conceptions of what it means to be human in the early part of the nineteenth century.

That Mary Shelley was herself pregnant at the time she wrote this adds another layer to this rich story of creator/progeny where the `father' is horrified by the `child' he has created. But this is also a book which engages with questions about innate `human' nature vs. nurture, and the extent to which we are created by our social and cultural environments.

That the `creature' itself is well-read and comes to understand its own creation, existence and desires through Milton's Paradise Lost is only one of the complexities of this book; and the increasing mutual identification between Frankenstein and his creation turns the expected hierarchy of man and monster on its head.

So it's certainly possible to simply read this as a chilling tale of gothic horror - but an interesting number of themes put to work here foreshadow Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin, and Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.
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