Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


This revision of a widely adopted critical edition presents the 1831 text of Mary Shelley’s English Romantic novel along with critical essays that introduce students to Frankenstein from contemporary psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, gender, and cultural studies perspectives. An additional essay demonstrates how various critical perspectives can be combined. In the second edition, 3 of the 6 essays are new. The text and essays are complemented by contextual documents, introductions (with bibliographies), and a glossary of critical and theoretical terms.

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“Great Books,” The Learning Channel’s exciting series, illuminates the time and place in which classic writers created lasting works that have become essential threads in the fabric of our culture.

One of the most enduring horror stories of all time, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus has held readers spellbound since its publication in 1818. Written at a time when science was in its ascendancy, the novel spoke directly to popular fears about the dangers — and the consequences — of man’s overstepping nature’s boundaries.

Inspired by a “waking dream,” Mary Shelley set out to write a story that kindled “the mysterious fears of our nature.” The story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist obsessed with the desire to create life, and the monster he reanimates with electricity, lays bare the frailties — both good and evil — of the human heart. Frankenstein deserts his creature in horror, and the monster — frightful, dangerous, abandoned, and yet longing for acceptance — seems all too human in his yearning and isolation. Today the story resonates as a brilliant interpretation of the consequences of scientific inquiry and as a timeless illumination of the human soul and the monster that lurks within all of us.

At this challenge, Mary Shelley began work on the ‘ghost story’ that was to evolve into the most celebrated horror novel in literary history. Frankenstein was published the next year and become the rage of London. In the generations since, the story of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created has been read by millions all over the world. It has inspired hundreds of imitations, but it has never been equaled for its masterful manipulation of the elements of horror and suspense.


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