Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus

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by Mary Shelley, Dimitrios Spyridon Chytiris
     
 

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Frankenstein is a masterpiece of nineteenth-century Gothicism and the prototype of the twentieth-century science-fiction novel.

It was conceived in the Swiss Alps in mid-June 1816 after a conversation about bringing corpses to life provoked a nightmare, and was written over the next eleven months in largely morbid circumstances. Death and the terrors of

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Overview

Frankenstein is a masterpiece of nineteenth-century Gothicism and the prototype of the twentieth-century science-fiction novel.

It was conceived in the Swiss Alps in mid-June 1816 after a conversation about bringing corpses to life provoked a nightmare, and was written over the next eleven months in largely morbid circumstances. Death and the terrors of childbirth--as much as Romanticism, a burgeoning awareness of unconscious drives, and contemporary ideas of atheism, the collapse of the social contract, and the corrupting influence of society on human nature--inform this story of a man (or monster) built by Dr. Victor Frankenstein and brought to life by electricity.

The monster's culpability for various horrific acts, his powerlessness in the face of his complete ostracism from society, and Dr. Frankenstein's lies, abdication of responsibility, and the pain he inflicts on his creation raised chilling questions that made the novel an immediate bestseller.

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Editorial Reviews

James Hynes
. . .[T]he novel Frankenstein is quite a read. . . .It's highly Romantic, in the literary sense. . .[there is] a good deal of attractive torment and self-doubt, from both Victor Frankenstein and his creation. . . .If ever a book needed to be placed in context, it's Frankenstein. —The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781523939596
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
02/08/2016
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)

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VOLUME I

LETTER 1

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 regarded 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. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams 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 itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is for ever 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 banished; 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 eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle; and may regulate a thousand celestial observations, that require onlythis voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent for ever. 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 induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday 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 enthusiasm 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 voyages 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's 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 increased 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 commenced 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 adventure might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-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 intreated 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 stage-coach. 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 succeed, 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


From the Paperback edition.

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What People are saying about this

Muriel Spark
Out of that vampire-laden fug of gruesomeness known as the English Gothic Romance, only the forbidding acrid name of Frankenstein remains in general usage... Mary Shelley had courage, she was inspired. Frankenstein has entertained, delighted and harrowed generations of readers to this day.

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Romanticism (also the Romantic era or the Romantic period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, the latter also being celebrated. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, and while for much of the Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, its long-term effect on the growth of nationalism was perhaps more significant.

The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe-especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. It considered folk art and ancient custom to be noble statuses, but also valued spontaneity, as in the musical impromptu. In contrast to the rational and Classicist ideal models, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism.

Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which preferred intuition and emotion to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the events and ideologies of the French Revolution were also proximate factors. Romanticism assigned a high value to the achievements of "heroic" individualists and artists, whose examples, it maintained, would raise the quality of society. It also promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a Zeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas. In the second half of the 19th century, Realism was offered as a polar opposite to Romanticism. The decline of Romanticism during this time was associated with multiple processes, including social and political changes and the spread of nationalism.

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Frankenstein 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 245 reviews.
BluWolf More than 1 year ago
This is a reprint of the original text. It is considerably different from other versions, and the sections that were altered in later editions are included in appendices for the reader's use or curiosity. The Oxford edition, like their other classics, offers many notes on the text, additional resources, a chronology of the author's life, and many explanatory notes that help the reader move right along in the text. I highly recommend this version for schools. I used this in a college class and made a much more efficient use of my time because the legwork that the editors have done to provide comments and notes saved me from having to discover allusions or references for myself or skip them altogether. It's a great story. If you chose to look more closely, this book raises a lot of questions about human interests at their core. The book, although almost two centuries old, raises questions that are still relevant today - some of which still have no definite answer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With missing passages and characters in place of letters, this version is a ghastly abomination of Shelley's masterpiece, and more than challenging to read. There are better copies out there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't get this copy!! There is gibberish all over the place from Google that, in my opinion, is too distracting to be overlooked. I haven't even read the book yet and just deleted my copy from my nook in search for a better version!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this specific downloadable edition of Frankenstien I do not suggest (it lacks many important things such as discernable chapters and has the Google logo sprinkled throught in the most inconvienent places). Mary Shelly's Frankenstien is one of the few "classic" novels worth such an esteemed title, telling the tale of an unloved outcast and how a lack of compassion can turn a blank slate of a person into a vengeful monster.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The writing style is dated and can be challenging. Once I let the story grab me though, I found a story I only thought I knew. Not a "horror" story by todays standards, but a thought provoking story of science for science sake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why are you people using the review section to pretend to be cats from warriors? The review section is supposed to be used to tell people how they thought the book they read was and give a comment that can help people decide whether they want the book, not to pretend to be cats. The book "Frankenstein" is a great classic and a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book I did not know what to expect. I found myself surprised at the differences between the book and the movie versions I had seen. It is a very well written book and I really liked how Mary Shelly developed the character of the frankenstien monster as an intelligent and lonely creature. The book had a much deeper message than I expected. I was expecting to read just another horror story and found myself stumbling upon a masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
we all know frankestein as the monster.in this book you understand the feelings of mother who has the heartbreak of his dead child, how she was disappointed,how hard she tried to give birth to his child who left the world she was living in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had to figure out lots of words due to spelling and rendering errors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can barely read this because things arent spelt right
cheesepuff_mike More than 1 year ago
Frankenstein is a classic. A true work of literature. Any of you haters want to hate on the book, that's fine. Sure, some versions are crap. But if your lucky enough to find the true original, and understand the text, then you will experience raw, amazingly amazing Gothic horror.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written well, but just a very depressing book. I always have to finish a book, so I forced myself to read as much of it as i could so that i could get it over with and stop feeling down from it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The version is exactly what I was looking for but it say digitized by google every other page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't read this thinking it is a "Horror" story, that is something Hollywood turned it into. The movies are nothing like the book. The creature can learn, talk, and empathize unlike the blundering creature in the movies. If your expecting anything like the movie skip this if you want to know what the films have defiled (with the exception of the 1994 version which is as close as they get) give this a read.
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