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Frankenstein (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – 23 Feb 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 391 customer reviews

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Paperback, 23 Feb 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; New edition edition (23 Feb. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393964582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393964585
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (391 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This audio version of Shelley's classic hits all the book s emotional highpoints thanks to a terrific tag team of readers a choice that is amply justified by the book's structure: explorer Robert Walton's correspondence with his sister; Victor Frankenstein's narration of his life and misguided efforts to play God; and the infamous monster's first-person account of how he made his way in the world. All three narrators are adept at modulating their tone to suit a scene s mood Roger May reads Walton's sections, Daniel Philpott narrates Frankenstein's, and Jonathan Oliver handles the monster's sections but the heavy lifting falls to Philpott, who conveys his character's passion, ambition, and ultimate horror at what his creation has done, which includes an accidental killing that strikes the scientist very close to home. For any listener familiar only with filmed treatments of this seminal tale of terror, this is a good way to experience the original. --Publishers Weekly

This classic tale of horror and obsession features an appropriately overwrought reading by three talented British actors. Dr Victor Frankenstein becomes enslaved to the idea of reanimating the dead, spending years in a manic frenzy of scientific study and creation. But once his monster lives, Frankenstein is so horrified by the ugliness of 'the demoniacal corpse' that he abandons it, never imagining that they will meet again in murderous circumstances. Daniel Philpott does most of the narration, employing a Germanic accent when he voices the good doctor s dialog. Roger May does a superb job as Capt. Robert Walton. The best performance, though, is by Jonathan Oliver as the Daemon. He makes listeners feel pity and compassion for this creature who longs only for love and intellectual stimulation; instead, he cannot help but be the personification of evil in his own mania for vengeance. VERDICT: The reading is well paced, and the narrators are not afraid to sound overwrought when appropriate. --Michael Rogers, Library Journal -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Audio CD.

Book Description

'It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open . . .' Frankenstein -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.

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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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Format: Paperback
Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus, bublished in 1818 by Mary Shelley (1797-1851), is told through the letters of an English explorer in the Arctic, named Walton. It relates the exploits of Victor Frankenstein, a Genevan student of philosophy at the University of Ingolstadt. He discovers the secret of giving life to inanimate matter and assembles a terrifying human figure from fresh cadavers and gives it life! The creature has the supernatural strength of a super being and because of his differences and mistreatment he becomes a lonely and miserable 'monster', who turns on frankenstein, after failing to convince his creator that he needs a female companion. He murders Victor's brother and his friend Clerval and also his bride Elizabeth. Frankenstein pursues the creature to the Arctic and attempts to destroy it, but dies after telling his tale to Walton. The monster declared that his creator would be his last victim and disappears into the snowy waste.
The story is beautifully written and this 'blue-print' for all monster creations is also a cautionary tale on how nature, which is essentially good, can be corrupted by ill treatment. Those familiar with the many film versions will be surprised with the original tale and how it differs in interpretation from current perceptions of the creature. fantastic!
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Format: Leather Bound Verified Purchase
Enough has been said already about the story that I can add little. It is a classic of English literature but perhaps also very much of it's time with some of the less probable events ( the monster learns to read by observing from afar then reads some weighty treatise of philosophy, or wandering the wilderness of Central Europe just so happens upon Victor's younger brother). It is also rather bleak and melodramatic, with the main protagonist proclaiming himself the most miserable being even before the worst of his mishaps. That said, it is a very poetic and beautifully written work raising all sorts of questions about the duty of a creator to his creation. It seems odd to a modern sensibility that someone able to instill life in inanimate flesh cannot render a female creation sterile and thus unable to bear children.

These minor gripes aside this is another beautifully presented volume from Barnes & Noble and will sit handsomely on any book lovers shelf - in my case beside the sumptuously blood red Barnes and Noble edition of Dracula - the natural companion.
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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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