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Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, Contexts, Criticism (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – 24 Jan 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 765 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd Revised edition edition (24 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393927938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927931
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (765 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

J. Paul Hunter is Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Reluctant Pilgrim: Defoe's Emblematic Method and Quest for Form in Robinson Crusoe; Occasional Form: Henry Fielding and the Chains of Circumstance; and Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction. He is author of the first nine editions of The Norton Introduction to Poetry and the long-time co-editor of The Norton Introduction to Literature and New Worlds of Literature.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shelley’s novel is transgressive in its content, and more transgressive in its nature – written by a female (at age 19!) under a pseudonym to penetrate the public approval. This novel explores human emotions, good and bad, in response to the ‘Other’ in true gothic fashion. The grunting, green-faced, bolt-bearing monster depicted by film and media is a pale imitation of Shelley’s masterpiece – but the original is a 'blue-print' for all monster creations. Despite being a cautionary tale on how nature, which is essentially good, can be corrupted by ill treatment – contemporary depictions have departed from the original characterization of an extremely well-spoken monster with immense speed and grace.

PLOT (4.5/5)
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).
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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Dec. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First published anonymously Mary Shelley’s novel has entered our literary canon and made Frankenstein a name we all know, especially as when such things as ‘Frankenstein Science’ is mentioned. I think most people are aware of how this novel came about, with a famous stay the Shelley’s had with Lord Byron on Lake Geneva. It is correct in some ways but a bit misleading in others. Mary took up the challenge of writing a story and was planning on a short tale, but as things took on steam, and encouraged by Percy this instead became a full length novel that took some time to come together in its entirety.

It is quite ironic that on first publication in 1818 this didn’t meet with a rush of buyers, and was belittled quite a bit by the critics, the story only really taking off with the third edition in 1831, where Mary had made a number of revisions. Nowadays this text, the original 1818 version is preferred by scholars and others as it carries more of the original spirit and intent of the tale.

As Robert Walton writes to his sister as he starts his voyage to the North Pole he little expects to find someone such as Victor Frankenstein traversing the icy vastness. As Victor is taken aboard the ship he recounts his tale to Walton, one that is tragic in scope. Victor uses his knowledge as we all know to create life, but as can happen so often he has little thought of what the consequences can be, especially as he loathes his creation. What follows is a game of cat and mouse between creator and created as they are both hell-bent on the destruction of the other.

Taking in the troubles that science can cause unabated this also explores human emotions, both good and bad where something strange and different can cause hate.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent scholarly edition of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley. This volume consists of two distinct versions of the novel. On the one hand, there's Mary Shelley's earliest draft; and on the other, there's a revised draft by Percy Shelley.

So for the first time we can read this class novel as Mary originally intended. It's somewhat shorter, and faster paced than the finished book, as was published in 1818. In fact, Percy revised the draft quite considerably - crossing out many words, altering sentence structure, and adding some 5,000 words to the manuscript. Here we can plainly see the differences between the early manuscript and the final publication.

The editor of this volume, Charles Robinson, provides a 20 page introduction, exploring the differences between the two versions.

This book is nicely presented, on good quality paper. If you're interested in the development of the Frankenstein novel, you'll appreciate this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very powerful. Emotionally incredible. I found the characters very interesting-whether the monster truly was evil, and Frankenstein responsible for his fate, or if the monsters behaviour was akin to an uncontrolled unloved child, who easily overreacted, then tortured himself for his wrongdoings, yet continued to subconsciously/uncontrollably kill in anguish and despair. Hard to read though, slow going, complex. Will take u a while! Also rather depressing. Otherwise very interesting.
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Her writing style is beautiful and really elicits empathy for the real first victim of the story, the `monster' himself. I was reading it whilst researching the concept of trans-humanism, which is being discussed a lot these days online. I thought it might serve as some kind of warning of dangers that might exist in this area, much like Orwell's novels warned of the world that is emerging right now. Being married to the poet Shelley probably enhanced her creative writing abilities as well. No wonder that a horror story became such a classic.
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