Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

by Mary Shelley

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Overview

Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) by Mary Shelley


Stepping far afield from his medical studies, Victor Frankenstein brings to life a human form he has fashioned from scavenged body parts. Horrified by his achievement, he turns his back on his creation, only to learn the danger of such neglect. Written when Mary Shelley was only 20 years old, Frankenstein has been hailed as both a landmark of Gothic horror fiction and the first modern science fiction story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435159624
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 03/20/2015
Series: Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions Series
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 281
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30, 1797 in London, the daughter of William Godwin--a radical philosopher and novelist, and Mary Wollstonecraft--a renowned feminist and the author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She eloped to France with Shelley in 1814, although they were not married until 1816, after the suicide of his first wife. She began work on Frankenstein in 1816 in Switzerland, while they were staying with Lord Byron, and it was published in 1818 to immediate acclaim. She died in London in 1851.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics, and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.

As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his character, I cannot refrain from relating them. One of his most intimate friends was a merchant who, from a flourishing state, fell, through numerous mischances, into poverty. This man, whose name was Beaufort, was of a proud and unbending disposition and could not bear to live in poverty and oblivion in the same country where he had formerly been distinguished for his rank and magnificence. Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in wretchedness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship and was deeply grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them. He lost no time in endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope of persuading him to begin the world again through his credit and assistance.

Beaufort had taken effectual measures to conceal himself, and it was ten months before my father discovered his abode. Overjoyed at this discovery, he hastened to the house, which was situated in a mean street near the Reuss. But when he entered, misery and despair alone welcomed him. Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money from the wreck of his fortunes, but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the meantime he hoped to procure some respectable employment in a merchant's house. The interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became more deep and rankling when he had leisure for reflection, and at length it took so fast hold of his mind that at the end of three months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable of any exertions.

His daughter attended him with the geatest tenderness, but she saw with despair that their little fund was rapidly decreasing and that there was no other prospect of support. But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould, and her courage rose to support her in her adversity. She procured plain work; she plaited straw and by various means contrived to earn a pittance scarcely sufficient to support life.

Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied in attending him; her means of subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. This last blow overcame her, and she knelt by Beaufort's coffin weeping bitterly, when my father entered the chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the interment of his friend he conducted her to Geneva and placed her under the protection of a relation. Two years after this event Caroline became his wife.

There was a considerable difference between the ages of my parents, but this circumstance seemed to unite them only closer in bonds of devoted affection. There was a sense of justice in my father's upright mind which rendered it necessary that he should approve highly to love strongly. Perhaps during former years he had suffered from the late-discovered unworthiness of one beloved and so was disposed to set a greater value on tried worth. There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother, differing wholly from the doting fondness of age, for it was inspired by reverence for her virtues and a desire to be the means of, in some degree, recompensing her for the sorrows she had endured, but which gave inexpressible grace to his behaviour to her. Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every rougher wind and to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind. Her health, and even the tranquillity of her hitherto constant spirit, had been shaken by what she had gone through. During the two years that had elapsed previous to their marriage my father had gradually relinquished all his public functions; and immediately after their union they sought the pleasant climate of Italy, and the change of scene and interest attendant on a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for her weakened frame.

From Italy they visited Germany and France. I, their eldest child, was born at Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me. My mother's tender caresses and my father's smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant life I received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self-control, I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me.

For a long time I was their only care. My mother had much desired to have a daughter, but I continued their single offspring. When I was about five years old, while making an excursion beyond the frontiers of Italy, they passed a week on the shores of the Lake of Como. Their benevolent disposition often made them enter the cottages of the poor. This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity, a passion—remembering what she had suffered, and how she had been relieved—for her to act in her turn the guardian angel to the afflicted. During one of their walks a poor cot in the foldings of a vale attracted their notice as being singularly disconsolate while the number of half-clothed children gathered about it spoke of penury in its worst shape. One day, when my father had gone by himself to Milan, my mother, accompanied by me, visited this abode. She found a peasant and his wife, hard working, bent down by care and labour, distributing a scanty meal to five hungry babes. Among these there was one which attracted my mother far above all the rest. She appeared of a different stock. The four others were dark-eyed, hardy little vagrants; this child was thin and very fair. Her hair was the brightest living gold, and despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head. Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness that none could behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features.

The peasant woman, perceiving that my mother fixed eyes of wonder and admiration on this lovely girl, eagerly communicated her history. She was not her child, but the daughter of a Milanese nobleman. Her mother was a German and had died on giving her birth. The infant had been placed with these good people to nurse: they were better off then. They had not been long married, and their eldest child was but just born. The father of their charge was one of those Italians nursed in the memory of the antique glory of Italy—one among the schiavi ognor frementi, who exerted himself to obtain the liberty of his country. He became the victim of its weakness. Whether he had died or still lingered in the dungeons of Austria was not known. His property was confiscated; his child became an orphan and a beggar. She continued with her foster parents and bloomed in their rude abode, fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles.

When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub—a creature who Seemed to shed radiance from her looks and whose form and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills. The apparition was soon explained. With his permission my mother prevailed on her rustic guardians to yield their charge to her. They were fond of the sweet orphan. Her presence had seemed a blessing to them, but it would be unfair to her to keep her in poverty and want when Providence afforded her such powerful protection. They consulted their village priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents' house—my more than sister—the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.

Everyone loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my pride and my delight. On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully, "I have a pretty present for my Victor—tomorrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine—mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own. We called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me—my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.

All new material in this edition copyright © 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Table of Contents

Part I: Frankenstein: The Complete Text
• Introduction
• The Complete Text
• Print Document
• Visual Documents
Part II: Frankenstein: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism
• A Psychoanalytic Perspective: David Collings, "The Monster and the Imaginary Monster: A Lacanian Reading of Frankenstein"
• A Marxist Perspective: Warren Montag, "'The Workshop of Filthy Creation': A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein"
• A Feminist Perspective: Johanna M. Smith, "'Cooped Up: Feminine Domesticity in Frankenstein"
• New A Gender Critic's Perspective: Frann Michel, "Lesbian Panic and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"
• New A Cultural Critic's Perspective: Bouriana Zakharieva, "Frankenstein of the Nineties: The Composite Body"
• New Combining Perspectives: Fred Botting, "Reflections of Excess: Frankenstein, the French Revolution, and Monstrosity"

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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Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Love this Edition!                                                                                        Note: This IS the 1831 edition. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was already one of my favourite novels of all time, however, I did not posses a quality edition of this classic. Walking in a Barnes & Noble one day, I stumbled across this lovely edition. It was cheap and looked durable so I purchased it. Taking it home I hoped it was the 1831 edition (my favourite of the two) and was pleased to see that it was. Overall the book has been wonderfully durable, holding up to numerous drops with only one hardly noticeable dent. I also regularly place the book in a backpack, and it holds up marvelously well. However, if you are going to bring it with you in a backpack, I suggest to first place it in a large Ziploc bag and then place it in your backpack. Before I learned this, I put it into a backpack and some of the paint from the title chipped off but after I started to use a plastic bag this no longer happens. If you want to get a very high quality/durable edition of one of the greatest novels ever written, get this one. It's cheap, yet EXTREMELY beautiful and surprisingly durable.
StephanieTiner More than 1 year ago
Victor Frankenstein has dedicated most of his life to the study of science. When he was old enough, his father sent him to continue his education in the sciences. While at school, Frankenstein develops an interest in the natural sciences and quickly becomes obsessed with creating life where there is none. When his experiment succeeds, Frankenstein is repulsed and horrified by what he sees. After the encounter with his creator, the monster flees into the nearby woods. As time passes, Frankenstein begins to believe that he is free of his creation, until a letter from home informs him of his little brother’s brutal murder. Frankenstein becomes convinced that the monster is responsible and sets out on a course for revenge. Frankenstein, classic Gothic literature, has been read by millions of readers since its first publication in 1818. Many films and television series have been made featuring Frankenstein’s monster, and he has become a prominent fixture in modern culture. Many young readers, like myself, believe they already know the monster. Yet, until now, I had never read it. I began this novel knowing most of modern beliefs about Frankenstein’s monster. Thankfully, I was also aware that many of these beliefs are wrong and stem from the many movies and television series. Despite having never read the novel, over the years I have learned many things about the original work and its author. The version of this novel that I read was constructed in the same form as it was originally published in. The text is written in old English, and the spelling is correct for the time period and region, making it different from modern American English. Some readers may find this difficult to read or understand since many things are different now, including speech pattern and dialect, than they were then. The story itself was a lot less exciting than I thought it would be. The story, in a sense, has three separate narrators, also known as a frame story, that take turns telling the story. In the beginning, the narrator is an explorer who happened upon Dr. Frankenstein while on an adventure to the North Pole. He then relinquishes the narration to Dr. Frankenstein. Frankenstein tells the majority of the story, relenting narration to the monster himself at one point and again to the explorer at the end. I also found this novel to be rather tame. Most of my life, I was lead to believe that Frankenstein was horrifying, it is after all a Gothic novel, but in reading it, I found it to be thought provoking and sad, but not horrifying. Perhaps this is due to our exposure to truly horrifying events, television shows, and literature. Or perhaps because we have been exposed to Frankenstein since we were small children. I would recommend this novel to anyone who thinks they know, or would want to know, the truth behind Frankenstein’s monster. I borrowed a copy of this novel from my local library and I am currently seeking permissions from the publishers at The Pennyroyal Press to use an image of the cover artwork above. stephanietiner.weebly.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You could truly feel emotions of the characters. Through their pain and love. The discussion between Frankenstein and the monster were quite interesting.
Katie McCown More than 1 year ago
Love Frankenstein!! Such a great read.
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EddieSteel More than 1 year ago
Terrific book, excellent companion to Dracula. This book is very classy, very well made and very complimentary to BnN's Dracula leatherbound. Can't speak for the version of the text, this is the only one i've ever read.
Denmarie More than 1 year ago
This book is in no way shallow if you are going to read it prepare to open yourself and scrutinize the harsh reality of how we humans have labeled and stereotyped what we hold to be important. I can literally write all day of what an emotional and heartfelt story this is from the good in the creature to what made him a wretch, to the how following through with his ambition was the destruction of Frankenstein.....definitely worth reading!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book arrived from B&N within 4 days of placing my order. This is a very handsome book. I have no complaints.
sistina63 More than 1 year ago
I have begun buying the Leather Bound classics for my son. He loves them.
thediener More than 1 year ago
170 pages describing the Swiss Alps and, oh by the way, a guy created a monster. Honest. You just read Frankenstein. There are only a few sentences regarding the creation of the monster. The rest of the book is about the weather (and moral lessons regarding the consequences of our actions, I suppose). Frankenstein is not a horror story. Not to be sexist but you can definitely tell it was written by a woman in the early 19th century! I recognize that all of the references to the landscape and weather are symbolic of mans place in the world and the scale of our efforts compared to nature but it is still very boring reading. That being said, the few moments of horror are well written. The leatherbound classics edition is very attractive (though the artist indulged in archetypes that are not actually in the book).
madieraman More than 1 year ago
How can a book about a guy building a monster out of dead body parts be boring? I don't know, but Mary Shelley sure figured out haw to do it. If this book were written today it wouldn't get published.