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Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 24 Feb 1994
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About the Author
Mary Shelley was born in 1797, the only daughter of writers William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. In 1814 she eloped with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, whom she married in 1816. She is best remembered as the author of Frankenstein, but she wrote several other works, including Valperga and The Last Man. She died in 1851.
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An intelligent and ambitious young student indulges a moment of thoughtless scientific passion and creates life. Horrified at his creation, Victor Frankenstein shuns the creature and attempts to discard it from his life and thoughts. The creature, however, is lost in an unkind world and seeks affection, and upon rejection then seeks revenge.
STUDENT NOTES (5/5)
+ Although many reviewers note The York Notes version usefulness at GCSE, I found in instrumental at helping me receive an A* at A-Level as well:
a) The (character, theme and quotation) analysis is brilliant, clear and precise.
b) The exam questions, key quotations and chapter summaries were invaluable
c) The responses to the text, both modern and those from Shelley's contemporaries are invaluable (especially the feminist and psychoanalytical essays).
+ Both main characters are easy to empathise with despite being completely at heads – both Victor (the ambitious scientist who realises his overreach and attempts to redeem himself) and the monster (whose fragile psyche is birthed from rejection)
+ The original, but nevertheless still one of the most remarkable science fiction stories ever written, its relevance persists today as scientific discovery journeys further than before into ethical ambiguity (GM food, AI, cloning) and discrimination still exists in all its forms.
+ Typically Romantic and beautifully descriptive prose, particularly regarding the natural world.
- The book begins very slowly with excessive detail, and the epistolary form makes it hard to convey any sense of suspense. But if you persist despite this you will be drawn in to Shelley's world.
She has already read the book supplied for lessons/mock exams in school and used the revision guide which I purchased and throughly enjoyed it.
The school recommended buying it as a useful book to continue the revision now that they have moved on to Macbeth.
What I also like is it has blown away all the myth and given her the story in its true form.
I am pleased this isn't going to be a book that she despises due having to read it again or indeed a book that lay gathering dust from lack of use.
She is 15, studying Frankenstein and throughly enjoys the story.
Not only that but she is really interested in Mary Shelley which makes it all so much more gratifying to buy.
It is a classic novel, originally published back in 1818. This does mean that the language is harder to read and understand for some people, and the general culture and ideas are all rather different to what you may be used to. That's always the biggest problem with reading and appreciating older novels - sometimes we just can't enjoy the fantastic writing or the unique characters like people would've back when it was released.
We are first introduced to Robert Walton on an expedition to the North Pole, writing letters back home. The whole story is, in fact, him recounting what he is told by the man he picks up in his boat - Frankenstein. Frankenstein's story is a familiar one; he created a monster, who subsequently felt lonely amongst this world of humans. This creature wanted a partner, a mate, but Frankenstein was unwilling to create yet another daemon of this kind. So he took revenge, slowly removing all of the Frankenstein's loved ones until he no longer held the will to live himself.
It is actually a lot sadder than I ever knew. I didn't know much, just the generic "Frankenstein's monster" creation story. But this novel is full of heartache and loss, regret and terror. It's about a scientist crossing the line of creation, only to suffer drastically for his ambitions.
Yet we are also given the "monster's" account - his terrifying, lonely entry to the world, his plea for company, even his regret for the lives he took. I never really thought much about the creation himself, didn't consider his side all that much. But this novel makes you think about him, and even causes you to sympathise with him.
I liked this book, but I feel like it's one of those books you're supposed to like. I'm not a huge fan of classic novels, but I can see past the difference in language and lifestyle. I just really appreciated the amount of emotion in this, and also it's not-so-perfect ending. It isn't a favourite, and it wasn't a casual, easy read, but I will give it 3.5 stars.
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