Frankenstein by Mary Shelley also called The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821. Shelley travelled through Europe in 1815, moving along the river Rhine in Germany, and stopping in Gernsheim, 17 kilometres (11 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where, two centuries before, an alchemist had engaged in experiments. She then journeyed to the region of Geneva, Switzerland, where much of the story takes place. Galvanism and occult ideas were topics of conversation for her companions, particularly for her lover and future husband Percy B. Shelley. In 1816 Mary, Percy and Lord Byron had a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein after imagining a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made. Though Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement, Brian Aldiss has argued for regarding it as the first true science-fiction story. In contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, Aldiss states, the central character “makes a deliberate decision” and “turns to modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve fantastic results. In this article, you will be able to access and download the pdf version of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley as well as do the following:
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Frankenstein pdf Summary by Mary Shelley
Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the gothic novel’s enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron’s. Frankenstein is a frame story written in epistolary form. It documents a fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville. The story takes place in the eighteenth century (the letters are dated as “17-“). Robert Walton is a failed writer who sets out to explore the North Pole in hopes of expanding scientific knowledge. During the voyage, the crew spots a dog sled driven by a gigantic figure. A few hours later, the crew rescues a nearly frozen and emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been in pursuit of the gigantic man observed by Walton’s crew. Frankenstein starts to recover from his exertion; he sees in Walton the same obsession that has destroyed him and recounts a story of his life’s miseries to Walton as a warning. The recounted story serves as the frame for Frankenstein’s narrative. Victor begins by telling of his childhood. Born in Naples, Italy, into a wealthy Genevan family, Victor and his younger brothers, Ernest and William, are sons of Alphonse Frankenstein and the former Caroline Beaufort. From a young age, Victor has a strong desire to understand the world. He is obsessed with studying theories of alchemists, though when he is older he realizes that such theories are considerably outdated.
About the author of Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30, 1797, in London, England. She was the daughter of philosopher and political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft — the author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Sadly for Shelley, she never really knew her mother who died shortly after her birth. Her father William Godwin was left to care for Shelley and her older half-sister Fanny Imlay. Imlay was Wollstonecraft’s daughter from an affair she had with a soldier. English writer Mary Shelley is best known for her horror novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.” She was married to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. She published her most famous novel, Frankenstein, in 1818. She wrote several other books, including Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), the autobiographical Lodore (1835) and the posthumously published Mathilde.
Information about the book Frankenstein (Amazon)
- Publisher : Dover Publications; Third edition (January 1, 1994)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 166 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0486282112
- ISBN-13 : 978-0486282114
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Lexile measure : 1170L
- Item Weight : 5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #18,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #446 in Mythology & Folk Tales (Books)
- #710 in Classic Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars 11,393 ratings
Excerpt from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
To Mrs. Saville, England
St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17—You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regard-ed with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking. I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspir-ited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents it-self to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There—for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators— there snow and frost are ban-ished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eter-nal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to in-duce me to commence this labourious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holi-day mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river.But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.
These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthu-siasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyag-es which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ library. My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them in-creased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my father’s dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring life. These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, those poets whose effusions entranced my soul and lifted it to heaven. I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment. But just at that time I inherited the fortune of my cousin, and my thoughts were turned into the channel of their earlier bent.
Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I com menced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an un-der-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he consider my services. And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing. This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia.
They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an English stagecoach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs— a dress which I have already adopted, for there is a great difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel. I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can easily be done by paying the insurance for the owner, and to engage as many sailors as I think necessary among those who are accustomed to the whale-fishing. I do not intend to sail until the month of June; and when shall I return? Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this question? If I suc-ceed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never. Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness. Your affectionate brother, R. Walton
Major characters in Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein Creator of the monster. Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of creating the human form and acts upon it. Immediately after creating the monster, he falls into a depression and fear. He leaves the school and returns home to his family, only to find tragedy there. Not fully aware of the consequences of his creating a new human, he spends his entire life trying to destroy the same creation.
The monsterThe creature created by Victor Frankenstein while at the University of Ingolstadt.”Formed into a hideous and gigantic creature,” the monster faces rejection and fear from his creator and society. The monster’s rejection from society pushes him to commit murder against his creator’s family.
Henry Clerval Victor’s best friend who helps Victor in his time of need. The monster kills Henry after Victor breaks his promise of creating a female companion for the monster. He studies language at the University of Ingolstadt and is totally unaware of Victor’s creation.
Elizabeth LavenzaThe orphan child taken in by the Frankenstein family and lovingly raised with Victor. Elizabeth later becomes Victor’s wife and is killed by the monster on their honeymoon. She is a champion for the poor and underpriviledged.
Alphonse Frankenstein Victor’s father. He suffers from illness probably brought on from his advanced age and depression from the events that have happened.
Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein Victor’s mother. Caroline dies of scarlet fever when Victor is 17. Caroline was very involved in charity work — much like Mary Shelley and her mother Mary Wollestonecraft — especially for families in poverty.
William Frankenstein Victor’s youngest brother who is killed by the monster. Symbolically, William’s murder is the turning point of the novel, when turmoil engulfs the Frankenstein family and all innocence is lost in the family. Also, William’s death signals for the reader the end of Victor’s belief that his actions can have no consequences.
Justine MoritzThe housekeeper for the Frankenstein family. Accused of William’s murder, Justine is the stolid martyr who goes to her death with grace and dignity. If William’s death symbolizes the loss of innocence, Justine’s death marks the end of all that is noble and righteous.
The De Lacey family M. De Lacey, Felix, Agatha, and Safie. The monster’s adopted family. Exiled from France for treason against their government.
Robert Walton Arctic explorer on his way to find a Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean from Russia to the Pacific Ocean. Robert finds Victor Frankenstein near death, listens to his tale, and records it in letters to his sister Margaret Saville.
Margaret Saville Robert’s sister. Robert writes to her detailing the events that transpire on the voyage and Victor’s story.
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Customer reviews on Barnesandnoble for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
4 out of 5 stars.
6 months ago
A Classic Worth Reading
Everyone knows this book, it’s one of the most classic work of literature. Once you get to read it’s going to hit different although it’s still a gothic/horror novel it centers around the horrors/dangers of ambitions and what it means to be a human being. I like how it’s written in a series of letters and verbal accounts I also like how the book is divided in general parts, The narrators narrative, Victors narrative and the creators narrative which keep things very interesting. Additionally I enjoyed the notes included in the book and also the timeline of Mary Shelley’s life.
5 out of 5 stars
2 years ago
A Beautiful And Tragic Assessment To The Monsters We Create
I could not help to think that in this wonderful creation, we, as humans, create monsters, both, so that we can judge the horror of our creations, but also so that we can be judged, in their eyes, by the what we are: a collection of beauty to be destroyed by the design of them, the monster’s creation itself. A sad, sad story.
4 out of 5 stars
3 years ago
I Bought This Book For A College Level English Class. Even Though …
I bought this book for a college level English class. Even though this book was for an educational purpose at the time needed it, I found it to be exciting and interesting. There was a lot of adventure and guessing to keep me reading and wanting more. Frankenstein is a definite page-turner and will have you thinking about creation and what is considered beauty. The storylines of the characters are beautifully put together, so you can get a mental picture of who they are and what they look like, which is what I love about reading. The characters are exciting within themselves and do not rely on the main character to be interesting. This book will have you thinking about love, beauty, loyalty and family and what those really mean to you. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a small enough book you can toss in your bag and take with you on the go. It is a good read and you get invested in each character and start to feel empathy for the ones you wouldn’t even think of. The movie is quite good as well, but the book has more imagination and feeling. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something thought-provoking and interesting. Even though this book is both Gothic and Science fiction it is not dark and dreary.
4 out of 5 stars.
5 years ago
For Mary Shelley To Produce Such An Amazing Book As Frankenstein …
For Mary Shelley to produce such an amazing book as Frankenstein at the age of 21 is outstanding. The way that she has a story within a story– that’s within a story, was so innovative.
Her themes are very poignant and haunting. She explores and questions the boundaries of death, nature, good vs. evil, and justice. It’s very captivating because she explores the deepest and darkest places of human nature.
The story begins with Victor Frankenstein’s ambitious love for science. The man goes as far as to cheat death itself, and he certainly heeds the consequences. She suggests that while accomplishing great feats in science, there will always be consequences.
Shelley uses Frankenstein’s Monster who at first only desires a connection and human compassion, but he was shunned because of his hideous appearance and soon grows pure hatred for the human race. His heart wrenching self-discovering journey emphasizes on the small human interactions that we may take for granted. It’s just a very conflicting situation for the reader. He does go as far as to murder innocent people out of revenge, but you still can’t help to feel a bit of sorrow and guilt for the poor creature who only wanted the simplest thing in life: love.
Mary Shelley’s work will always be a classic work that was ahead of it’s time. It’s an intense and eye opening tale that will stay with the reader for years to come.
Customer reviews on Amazon for Frankenstein
2.0 out of 5 stars A small-sized, expensive edition ($29.95) with lackluster reproduction of Wrightson’s artwork.
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2020
There have been four different editions of FRANKENSTEIN with Wrightson art, and unfortunately this is the smallest-sized (6×9 inches) and most expensive ($29.95) edition with lackluster printing of the artwork (see photo). Obviously, if you just want the book for its text, there are dozens of other choices, and far cheaper. But the publisher, in its sales copy, is careful to make the distinction that this edition has the Wrightson art, which is its main selling point. Therefore, wouldn’t you think they’d give us a proper showcase, with coated matte paper, like the IDW edition (the best of the four), instead of printing this on inexpensive, highly absorbent, standard book stock (55-pound or 70-pound, at most)? The result is a book that simply isn’t a good value for the money. If you want an edition of FRANKENSTEIN with the art gorgeously reproduced, in a large format, on coated semi-matte paper and exquisite reproduction, you’ll have to buy one on the secondary market, because that edition, from Dark Horse, is long out of print. Go seek it out. Oh, my lord, it’s such a beautiful book in every way, right down to its satin ribbon.As a former book marketing director, while I applaud S&S for getting the book back in print, they are best advised to sell out the remaining inventory and go back to the drawing board, just as the late Bernie Wrightson did when he realized it was high time for the art to match the book with classic art. Bernie poured his heart and soul into illustrating what is unquestionably his masterpiece.
Perhaps the second time around the publisher will get a copy of the IDW edition and say: “How can we improve on this?” (Well, for starters, reprint Joyce Carol Oates’ essay on the book, and add an appreciation of Wrightson himself, and add an additional gallery of the unused Wrightson artwork that appeared in a separate book, from a small press, titled THE LOST FRANKENSTEIN PAGES.) Then they’ll have a book for the ages, which will make money for them for many years to come, which is what Bernie Wrightson’s art richly deserves, and his wife Elizabeth also deserves, and what we, as readers, will buy.
Note: I have posted two photos of the Dark Horse edition, which I highly recommend.
KauiTop Contributor: Historical Fiction Books
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for the Ages
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2020
Ah, Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. Lord Byron. An island. Fireside stories. A competition. And! A novel is born. But not just any novel – a GOTHIC novel. Our first Science Fiction novel. A novel that struggles with medical ethics, morality and ultimately, what it means to be human. All of this is wrapped up in an epic struggle between two equally unlikeable characters but each of whom represents a part of humanity – one is a creator, an innovator, an explorer; the other is a creation who is desperately lonely, angry, confused and ultimately, abandoned. Each engages in behavior and makes choices that are reprehensible. But the triggers for their acts – what about those? Is each character morally excused from their bad acts due to the understandable chaos they face? These questions are current, real and unanswerable in a simple way. Stanford University, for the book’s 100th anniversary, held a campus-wide celebration the entire academic year, with medical ethics talks at the Med school to reading and discussing this book in Another Book Club. I revisit this book annually in October, my Month of Horror, and conclude that this classic deserves to be considered and pondered carefully.
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2018
I bought this book for a college level English class. Even though this book was for an educational purpose at the time needed it, I found it to be exciting and interesting. There was a lot of adventure and guessing to keep me reading and wanting more. Frankenstein is a definite page turner and will have you thinking about creation and what is considered beauty. The story lines of the characters are beautifully put together, so you can get a mental picture of who they are and what they look like, which is what I love about reading. The characters are exciting within themselves and do not rely on the main character to be interesting. This book will have you thinking about love, beauty, loyalty and family and what those really mean to you. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a small enough book you can toss in your bag and take with you on the go. It is a good read and you get invested in each character and start to feel empathy for the ones you wouldn’t even think of. The movie is quite good as well, but the book has more imagination and feeling. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something thought provoking and interesting. Even though this book is both Gothic and Science fiction it is not dark and dreary.
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