In the summer of 1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, then eighteen years old, began to write the novel Frankenstein after she and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley took part in a ghost-story competition at Lord Byron's villa by Lake Geneva. Over the next nine months -- a period which saw their return to England in autumn 1816 and subsequent marriage -- she (with Percy) drafted the entire novel in a form materially different from the two standard editions of 1818 and 1831 which were based on a later fair copy.
Until now, no one has been able to read what Mary Shelley herself initially wrote in this original draft of the novel. Going back to the unique draft manuscript of the text held in the Bodleian Library, Charles E. Robinson has teased out Percy Shelley's amendments, isolating them from the story in Mary Shelley's hand. Both texts - with and without Percy's interventions - are presented in this edition, allowing us for the first time to read the story in Mary's original hand and also to see how Percy edited his wife's prose.
The results are fascinating. We read a more rapidly paced novel that is arranged in different chapters. Above all, we hear Mary's genuine voice which sounds to us more modern, more immediately colloquial than her husband's learned, more polished style.
To this day, Frankenstein remains the most popular work of science fiction. This edition promises to redefine the ways we read the story and perceive the act of its creation.
Publisher: The Bodleian Library
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 37 mm
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.
This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by Wendy Steiner, the chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Scandal of Pleasure.
Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797 in London. She eloped to France with Shelley, whom she married in 1816. After Frankenstein, she wrote several novels, including Valperga and Falkner, and edited editions of the poetry of Shelley, who had died in 1822. Mary Shelley died in London in 1851.
"From the Trade Paperback edition."