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Frankenstein (Illustrated): The Modern Prometheus

by Mary Shelley on 2019-04-04

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley (1797–1851) that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous, sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in 1823.

Shelley travelled through Europe in 1814, journeying along the river Rhine in Germany with a stop in Gernsheim, which is 17 kilometres (11 mi) away from Frankenstein Castle, where, two centuries before, an alchemist was engaged in experiments. Later, she travelled in the region of Geneva (Switzerland)—where much of the story takes place—and the topic of galvanism and occult ideas were themes of conversation among her companions, particularly her lover and future husband, Percy Shelley. Mary, Percy and Lord Byron decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the novel's story.

Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. At the same time, it is an early example of science fiction. Brian Aldiss has argued that it should be considered the first true science fiction story because, in contrast to previous stories with fantastical elements resembling those of later science fiction, the central character "makes a deliberate decision" and "turns to modern experiments in the laboratory" to achieve fantastic results. It has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays.

Since the novel's publication, the name "Frankenstein" has often been used to refer to the monster itself. This usage is considered erroneous, but some commentators regard it as well-established and acceptable. In the novel, Frankenstein's creation is identified by words such as "creature", "monster", "daemon", "wretch", "abortion", "fiend" and "it". Speaking to Victor Frankenstein, the monster says "I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel" (which ties to Lucifer in Paradise Lost, which the monster reads, and which relates to the disobedience of Prometheus in the book's subtitle).

3 books to know: Post-apocalyptic fiction

by Mary Shelley on 2019-02-25

Welcome to the 3 Books To Know series, our idea is to help readers learn about fascinating topics through three essential and relevant books.

These carefully selected works can be fiction, non-fiction, historical documents or even biographies.

We will always select for you three great works to instigate your mind, this time the topic is: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Jack London's book place in 2073, sixty years after an uncontrollable epidemic has depopulated the planet. A former English professor is one of the survivors and he travels with his grandsons. The teacher tells the grandchildren the story of how the plague spread and how the world was before the devastation.

In After London a long forgotten catastrophe devastates Europe and returns cities to nature. Good news for nature, bad news for human survivors, who live in an almost medieval state.

The inventor of modern science fiction, Mary Shelley, also describes a world ravaged by disease where human societies invade into a state of horror and barbarism.

This is one of many books in the series 3 Books To Know. If you liked this book, look for the other titles in the series, we are sure you will like some of the topics.


Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley on 2017-11-15

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

A masterpiece. —Phillip Pullman
One of the most original and complete productions of the day. —Percy Bysshe Shelley
The greatest paradox and most astonishing achievement of Mary Shelley’s novel is that the monster is more human than his creator. This nameless being, as much a modern Adam as his creator is a modern Prometheus, is more lovable than his creator and more hateful, more to be pitied and more to be feared, and above all able to give the attentive reader that shock of added consciousness in which aesthetic recognition compels a heightened realization of self. —Harold Bloom


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