Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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Written by Mary Shelley (1797-1851), Frankenstein is the best-selling horror classic about an experiment that goes horribly wrong, and a monster who swears revenge on his creator. Swiss student Victor Frankenstein uncovers the secret to bringing life to what is lifeless, and in assembling body parts to create a monster, ultimately sets the stage for his own destruction and that of everything he loves when the monster is rejected by society. Penned as part of a competition between Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori to see who could write the best horror story, Frankenstein is resonant with themes of love, friendship, hubris, and fear. It presents the epic battle between man and monster, showing that man is not always capable of controlling that which he creates.

Frankenstein was first published anonymously in London in 1818, reflecting English biases towards female authors, and Mary Shelley was not credited as the author of Frankenstein until the French edition was published in 1823. Frankenstein has had a lasting influence on literary tradition, opening the door to literary horror as a genre, and is widely recognized as the first work of science fiction. It has been adapted for film, television, and stage, as well as providing the basis for new works of literary fiction.


About Mary Shelley

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England on August 30, 1797. Her parents were two celebrated liberal thinkers, William Godwin, a social philosopher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, a women's rights advocate. Eleven days after Mary's birth, her mother died of puerperal fever. Four motherless years later, Godwin married Mary Jane Clairmont, bringing her and her two children into the same household with Mary and her half-sister, Fanny. Mary's idolization of her father, his detached and rational treatment of their bond, and her step-mother's preference for her own children created a tense and awkward home. Mary's education and free-thinking were encouraged, so it should not surprise us today that at the age of sixteen she ran off with the brilliant, nineteen-year old and unhappily married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley became her ideal, but their life together was a difficult one. Traumas plagued them: Shelley's wife and Mary's half-sister both committed suicide; Mary and Shelley wed shortly after he was widowed but social disapproval forced them from England; three of their children died in infancy or childhood; and while Shelley was an aristocrat and a genius, he was also moody and had little money. Mary conceived of her magnum opus, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, when she was only nineteen when Lord Byron suggested they tell ghost stories at a house party. The resulting book took over two years to write and can be seen as the brilliant creation of a powerful but tormented mind. The story of Frankenstein has endured nearly two centuries and countless variations because of its timeless exploration of the tension between our quest for knowledge and our thirst for good. Shelley drowned when Mary was only 24, leaving her with an infant and debts. Mary died in 1851 at the age of 54 from a brain tumor.
Published February 25, 2014 by Alpine Books. 166 pages
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment, History, Children's Books, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Victor Frankenstein finds an ally in fellow Oxford student Percy Bysshe Shelley, a passionate atheist who shares his ideas of a new, fairer society of men uncoupled from divine creation.

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Common Sense Media

Animals cause bloody injuries, one character bites an animal in the throat, and another character guts an animal to find something it swallowed.

Aug 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Frankenstein

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