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Frankenstein (Wordsworth Classics): Or, the Modern Prometheus [Paperback]

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 1992 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Dr Siv Jansson, University of Greenwich.

Begun when the author was only eighteen and conceived from a nightmare, Frankenstein is the deeply disturbing story of a monstrous creation which has terrified and chilled readers since its first publication in 1818. The novel has thus seared its way into the popular imagination while establishing itself as one of the pioneering works of modern science fiction.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; Reprint edition (1 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260230
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 12.7 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Mary Shelley was born in 1797, only daughter of William Godwin the philosopher and writer and Mary Wollstonecraft, the radical author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Her mother died a few days after her birth. In 1814 she left England with Percy Bysshe Shelley, and married him in 1816 on the death of his wife. She returned to England inn 1823 after her husband's death. Shelley is best remembered as the author of Frankenstein, but she wrote several other works including novels, biographies and short stories. She died in 1851.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Let me start by saying that this was nothing like I expected. Having never seen a movie version of Frankenstein, my only exposure to the story has been through the general references that have been adopted into our culture. The crazed scientist, the twisted assistant, the sweet little girl, the lightning bolts and electricity. None of which actually appear in the book! Not that it really matters, because this is a beautiful story.

Victor Frankenstein is an ambitious young man obsessed with 'natural philosophy' - the natural sciences. When his interest turns to theories on reanimation and 'the spark of life', his devotion pays off and he builds a being, a giant of sorts, and succeeds in giving him life. But as this huge creature stirs for the first time, Victor awakens from his single-minded working frenzy, and flees in horror from this primitive monster he's created. What follows is a battle for freedom, happiness - and vengeance. The Creature, left to develop alone, outcast despite his capacity for love, becomes bitter in the face of his loneliness and the hostility of society. He blames Victor for his woes, for deserting him so cruelly - but Victor, in turn, is terrified of the 'demon' he fears he has unleashed. It becomes an all-out war which can only lead to tragedy...

For the reader, there can be no winner in this battle for dominance. Frankenstein, chasing his monster through the bleak landscape of the North, tells his story to the captain of a ship that has rescued him from the ice. The Creature, in turn, tells his own sorry tale to Victor within this narrative. Frankenstein is self-obsessed and blind to his responsibilities, yet perhaps he is right to condemn a being who has caused so much destruction.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget your preconceptions and read a classic. 12 Jan 2005
By Ian Tapley VINE VOICE
An intelligent and promising young student indulges a moment of thoughtless scientific passion and creates life. Horrified at himself, Victor Frankenstein shuns the creature and attempts to continue his life without thinking about it. The creature, however, is lost in an unkind world and he never stops thinking about Frankenstein.
Forget square-heads and green make-up, forget that dreadful modern remake with Kenneth Branagh and Robert DeNiro sit down and read one of the most remarkable science fiction stories ever written. It is basically about two men, Frankenstein and 'the wretch', who are so consumed by passion and pride that they are drawn ever further from the redemption that at times is tantalisingly close. These two men are all too easy to empathise with; Victor being a scientific genius but also scared witless by the horror he feels he has unleashed upon mankind and 'the wretch' (I can't honestly call him monster) who wants only to be loved but is so pained by his loneliness that he lashes out at others. Perhaps my favourite element of the book is the fact that the wretch reads 'Paradise Lost' and, having no concept of fiction, takes it all as complete truth, subtley warping his perception of reality.
As with a lot of 19th century literature, this book can be ponderous at times, seeming to deliberately avoid getting on with the story. Also, like a lot of 19th century literature, this book is incredibly depressing. By the time you've read it, you'll be in no doubt that you've read a masterpiece, but you'll also be as miserable as sin.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative creation of a mood of bleak despair 18 Feb 2007
This is primarily a novel that sets out to create an atmosphere of fear, horror and despair and succeeds admirably in so doing. Mary Shelley must have had an appalling dream but she brought it to life in wonderful, evocative language and at such a young age (only 19 when she wrote the book). The monster is so different from the monster of the films. Here he is no lumbering, stupid brute, but an agile, resourceful and calculating creature who can and does conduct a deep and thoughtful dialogue with his creator when explaining his background story. But at the same time the monster carries out horrible murders of Frankenstein's nearest and dearest and these deaths are shocking when they happen. The science is almost non-existent and we never find out how Frankenstein creates the monster nor indeed what the monster really looks like other than being repulsively hideous. But that is not the purpose of the book, which is to set a mood and raise philosophical questions about the purpose of scientific discovery. And Mary Shelley does this brilliantly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a superb novel. The only point that I'd want to share is that we were looking for the original 1818 version, but the Wordsworth Classics edition turned out to be the later (substantially revised) version of the novel. It would be really helpful if this detail was added to the Amazon description because it isn't very easy to ascertain what you're buying. Thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The real Frankenstein 12 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you think that Frankenstein was a dim-witted green monster with a flat head, bolts sticking out his neck and moved slowly in a mummy-like fashion, then please dismiss all such notions from your head as that vision is highly inaccurate.

Without spoiling it too much, the monster was not given a name and Frankenstein was the name of the scientist who made the monster. Another mistake that some people make is in giving Victor Frankenstein the title of Dr. Frankenstein, as he never completed his studies. As for the monster itself, it was yellow, moved with immense speed & grace and was extremely well-spoken, having learned English from, amongst other thing, Paradise Lost.

The book begins very slowly. There is a lot of background detail given that doesn't really add much to the story and by a quarter of the way through the book, I was considering abandoning the book. Thankfully I didn't, for as the story continued I was drawn in to Shelley's world.

The tale touches on themes of ethics in science, love, rejection, denial and a huge dose of revenge. Undoubtedly the best section is the first prolonged conversation that Frankenstein has with his creation. While some sections are tough-going, I would highly recommend this as a classic of literature, and the best antidote to considering Frankenstein as anything like Fred Munster.
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