Frankenstein, Or, the Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein, Or, the Modern Prometheus

The 1818 Text in Three Volumes

Book - 1984
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Shelley's enduringly popular and rich gothic tale confronts some of the most feared innovations of evolutionism and science--topics such as degeneracy, hereditary disease, and humankind's ability to act as creator of the modern world. This new edition, based on the harder and wittier 1818 version of the text, draws on new research and examines the novel in the context of the controversial radical sciences developing in the years following the Napoleonic Wars, and shows the relationship of Frankenstein's experiment to the contemporary debate between champions of materialistic science and proponents of received religion.
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c1984
ISBN: 9780520052819
0520052811
Branch Call Number: SHEL
Characteristics: xiv, 254 p. : ill. ; 32 cm
Additional Contributors: Oates, Joyce Carol
Moser, Barry
Alternative Title: Modern Prometheus
Frankenstein

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FindingJane Jul 09, 2014

Reading the text of familiar classics is like returning to an old friend you haven’t seen in ages. You’re astonished at first by the changes (goodness, he looks so OLD). Then the next moment something familiar is said, the sparks fly just like they used to and, in moments, it’s as if you’d never been apart.

The story of a mad creator and his abhorred abomination never palls. The crazed fever of Frankenstein, the palpable, desperate yearning for warmth and companionship of his nameless creation ring as true now as they ever did. Frankenstein’s inexorable spiral into a maelstrom of revenge, despair, loneliness and death are no less haunting than the death-strewn path of destruction of the creature.

Such is the power of Shelley’s writing that there is no clear protagonist, no certain malefactor in this story. The reader finds himself vacillating in his sympathies between the two beings. Is Frankenstein to blame for creating the fiend (as he calls it) or is his unnamed handiwork to be considered a monster, no better than a criminal, for deliberately seeking out and killing Frankenstein’s loved ones? Each had choices he could have made, each could have turned at any moment from the path he took. The fallacy of tampering with nature, the responsibility of creator to creation and the pointlessness of revenge are just some of the themes touched on in this classic story and they are as provocative today as when Mary Shelley first penned this result of a hideous nightmare.

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