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Frankenstein (Broadview Edition) / Edition 2

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Overview

Mary Shelley's deceptively simple story of Victor Frankenstein and the creature he brings to life, first published in 1818, is now more widely read—and more widely discussed by scholars—than any other work of the Romantic period. From the creature's creation to his wild lament over the dead body of his creator in the Arctic wastes, the story retains its narrative hold on the reader even as it spins off ideas in rich profusion.
Macdonald and Scherf's edition of Frankenstein has been widely acclaimed as an outstanding edition of the novel—for the general reader and the student as much as for the scholar. The editors use as their copy-text the original 1818 version, and detail in an appendix all of Shelley's later revisions. They also include a range of contemporary documents that shed light on the historical context from which this unique masterpiece emerged. Macdonald and Scherf have now revised and updated their introduction, notes and bibliography, and have added new documents (including a review of Frankenstein by Percy Shelley).

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Editorial Reviews

Jerome McGann University of Virginia
"This is the best, the most thoughtful advanced school edition of Frankenstein ever done. The text is well-edited, the introduction is thorough, and the collection of contextual documents could hardly be improved."
Bernard Hirsch University of Kansas
"Superb. The introduction and appendices are particularly valuable...accessible and illuminating."
Craig Keating Langara College
"Far better than any [other edition] on the market today."
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551113081
  • Publisher: Broadview Press
  • Publication date: 9/13/1999
  • Series: Broadview Editions Series
  • Edition description: Original 1818 Text
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

The late D.L. Macdonald was a professor in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. Kathleen Scherf is professor and Dean of General Studies at the University of Calgary; both have published widely, and they have also collaborated on an edition of Wollstonecraft's The Vindications for this series.

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Read an Excerpt

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 only this 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

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Education of Mary Shelley
Education of Victor Frankenstein
Education of the Monster
Evolution of the Novel
A Note on the Text
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: A Brief Chronology
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
Volume I
Volume II
Volume III
Appendix A: The Education of Mary Shelley
1. Godwin
2. Wollstonecraft
Appendix B: The Education of Victor Frankenstein 264
1. Darwin
2. Davy
Appendix C: The Education of The Monster
1. Volney
2. Goethe
3. Plutarch
4. Milton
5. Wollstonecraft
Appendix D: Reviews of Frankenstein
1. Scott, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
2. The Edinburgh Magazine
3. Croker, Quarterly Review
4. P.B. Shelley, Athenaeum
Appendix E: Presumption (excerpt)
Appendix F: Substantive Variants in the 1831 Edition
Appendix G: Introduction [1831]
Works Cited / Recommended Reading

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 259 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(102)

4 Star

(63)

3 Star

(40)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(36)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 262 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Oxford Classic Edition is the Best Edition of Frankenstein

    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.

    30 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Terrible copy!

    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!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    This copy is CRAP!!

    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!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    Not for the weak of intellect.

    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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Should I review a classic? Really, what's the point? This book i

    Should I review a classic? Really, what's the point? This book is historic and mandatory reading for many high schools and a true insight into the European era it was written (1818). Language, thoughts, opinions, attitudes, social classes, locations - it's all there. It's like a time machine and that aspect of the book is fasinating. Then there's the classic elements...
    This is true gothic horror. It's not blood and guts and "shoot'em up" that is all too necessary to hold an audiences' attention in today's world. "Frankenstein" is psychological terror in the same vein as "what's hiding around the corner." We follow Victor's inner thoughts and paranoia as he sinks deeper and deeper into depression, fear and finally resolve that he must kill the monster he created or die trying.
    As someone who was an avid reader in high school - but not the mandatory assignments, (my personal classics are more modern works) - it is quite a few years after my graduation. I picked up "Frankenstein" because it is my son's mandatory summer reader. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.
    But again - reviewing a classic? Okay - some may find this a lame excuse, but I only rated it 4 out of 5 stars because of my upbringing in the modern "shoot'em up" world. The meanings were all there for me - man vs God, man vs woman, etc... But there were too many coincidences within the story that made me shake my head in disbelief. Europe is a continent and not someone's neighborhood where even then it would be difficult to find someone hiding from you. But if you can shut down your reasoning and throw disbelief to the howling wind, "Frankenstein" has the fear factor to keep you awake and wondering at night who or what could be lurking around your neighborhood.
    One final note: For any high schooler thinking about skipping this mandatory reading assignment and watching the movie instead, just plan on testing for a GED after you wise up. The Boris Karloff version sticks to the book about as closely as the Abbott and Costello film. In fact, check out Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein" and write your report on that one. At least your teacher will have a few laughs grading your paper!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Me Amazing

    Nothing more to say...

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Worthwile Classic

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    My personal favorite

    Frankenstein is the simple best book ever written (in my opinion). It relates to various sides of our lives, it is philosophical and exciting to read. It should be a must read for humanity because it teaches important lessons for life. It is very deep and emotional. Please do not think of any horror pictures that misinterpret the book, and thus mislead you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    A Classic Tragedy

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    understanding the feelings of a mother:mary shelley in frankestein

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2014

    Render

    Cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2014

    Whisper

    Let's do this#

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2014

    Leaf (ImpostoRox39)

    Impostering is my specialty!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2014

    Elly

    Okay! I'll do it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2014

    Kat

    When do we start?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    To All Supporters: WE WILL CRUSH ETHEREAL

    THIS IS WHERE IT WILL HAPPEN: WE WILL SPREAD OUT AND TAKE THEM ONE BY ONE. IF THEY RESIST, THEY DIE.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2014

    To Star

    Two months later, Star notices. No, Demi ain't part of Ethereal. She's only been here this long without you detecting. Good job.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    TO HOPE/HIKEN

    So please dpn't RP Hiken....She's taken. IS

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    To arkit

    I respondd. ~ivyit.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    Poopkit

    Comes in and poops on the floor.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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