Frankenstein Or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818)

Thought to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction, Frankenstein was written as part of a casual competition between Shelley and three writing friends when they were on holiday with bad weather. Weeks later, this story was produced, and was actually the only story to be published out of that competition. Shelley wrote it when she was just 18, although it was published until she was 21, and then it was published anonymously, presumably due to gender discrimination rampant at the time (early 1800’s).

(The photo depicts the library book which Avi Puppy decided to interpret for himself.)

Although most people believe the created monster is called Frankenstein, it is actually the name of his creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who after creating this monster, goes on to live a tumultuous life of chasing his creation around the world to prevent murders.

Having never read this story before, but been familiar with the vague story line, I enjoyed the read and following the plot as the monster with no name evolves from a lonely kinda nice guy into a monster intent on revenge upon his maker for bringing him to life and making his life so miserable and lonely. Shelley does a good job on showing this transition in the monster’s character, and also how it wreaks havoc on Frankenstein’s life. As is commonly noted, 19th century writing is particularly wordy, but once I got used to this, the story moved quickly. However, I wonder how much would have been cut if it had been written and sent out today? I know I would have moved that red pen pretty swiftly through some of its wordiness.

I wish more people would take the time and effort to read some of the classics as most of the time, the stories are actually *really* good and worth the work. I had not read this just out of procrastination, but once I had added it to my list of Summer Classics 2011, I actually really looked forward to it. I had a similar reaction to “Dracula”, which was also an epistolary novel and much better than I had realized. (“Frankenstein” had a little bit of referring to letters, but a lot of it was direct narrative from one person or another.)

Glad I have read this one, and will be searching for another classic to read before the summer ends… I am thinking of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, but we’ll see…

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3 thoughts on “Frankenstein Or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818)

  1. I’ve never read this but am hoping to get round to it soon. I read Dracula last Halloween, so maybe I should save Frankenstein for this Halloween? And I agree with you about classics being worth the effort. Many of them are much easier to read than people imagine, and there’s usually a good reason why they’ve become classics.

    • I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed “Dracula” then you will enjoy Frankenstein. Same sort of thing, but not so much epistolary items.. And sure – it would make a good Halloween. Have you ever Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stephenson)…?

  2. I loved this book!! I was so startled the first time the creature starts talking. He was actually eloquent. So much better than the Hollywood versions.

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