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Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Or `the Modern Prometheus': the 1818 Text

by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Nick Groom

Hardback Publication Date: 19/04/2018

RRP  $31.95 $30.50

Frankenstein is the most celebrated horror story ever written.

It tells the dreadful tale of Victor Frankenstein, a visionary young student of natural philosophy, who discovers the secret of life. In the grip of his obsession he constructs a being from dead body parts, and animates this creature. The results for Victor and for his family are catastrophic.

Written when Mary Shelley was just eighteen, Frankenstein was inspired by the ghost stories and vogue for Gothic literature that fascinated the Romantic writers of her time. She transformed these supernatural elements into an epic parable that warned against the threats to humanity posed by accelerating technological progress.

Published for the 200th anniversary, this edition, based on the original 1818 text, explains in detail the turbulent intellectual context in which Shelley was writing, and also investigates how her novel has since become a byword for controversial practices in science and medicine, from manipulating ecosystems to vivisection and genetic modification. As an iconic study of power, creativity, and, ultimately, what it is to be human, Frankenstein continues to shape our thinking in profound ways to this day.
ISBN:
9780198814047
9780198814047
Category:
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Format:
Hardback
Publication Date:
19-04-2018
Language:
English
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Edition:
3rd Edition
Dimensions (mm):
137.16x218.44x25.4mm
Weight:
0.42kg
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The childhood of Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851), sounds rather like a dark fairy-tale. Her mother died giving birth to her and she was brought up by a remote father and a step-mother who hated her. Her step-sister was a depressive and later committed suicide and Mary had little in common with her step-brother or her half-brother. As a young girl, she escaped into books and would often read by the side of her mother's tomb.

In 1813 Mary met Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was only twenty-one but was already unhappily married. He was destined to be one of the geniuses of English poetry. The two fell in love and eloped, despite Mary's age. Her father, William Godwin, disowned her, but still she and Shelley were married in 1816. They settled in Italy but tragedy seemed to follow them. Only one of their four children lived very long and then, in 1822, when he was just thirty, Shelley was drowned. Mary lived for another thirty years but she lost the promise that she had shown in the company of her brilliant husband and his friends, such as the poet Lord Byron. The single book that we remember her for belonged to her happy time in Italy.

It was Byron who suggested in 1817, that they each write a horror story. The result in Mary's case, was Frankenstein. As well as being creepier than most other books in the genre, Frankenstein has a far better story-line and is in the end, both moving and tragic. Amazingly, a young girl of twenty gave us the book whose name has become synonymous with horror.

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