Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus


Frankenstein was published in 1818, the work of a 21-year-old genius named Mary Shelley. Hundreds of movies, adaptations, and monster masks later, its reputation remains so lively that the title has become its own word in the English language. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist, discovers the secret of reanimating the dead. After he rejects his hideous creation, not even the farthest poles of the earth will keep his bitter monster from seeking an inhuman revenge. Inspired by a uniquely Romantic view of science’s possibilities, Shelley’s masterpiece ultimately wrestles with the hidden shadows of the human mind.
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Dec 31, 1869
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For the bicentennial of its first publication, Mary Shelley’s original 1818 text, introduced by National Book Critics Circle award-winner Charlotte Gordon.
2018 marks the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel. For the first time, Penguin Classics will publish the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley’s relationship with her mother—trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother’s ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
This edition includes a new introduction and suggestions for further reading by National Book Critics Circle award-winner and Shelley expert Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts and reviews selected by Gordon, and a chronology and essay by preeminent Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
This Top Five Classics illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein includes:

• All 65 woodcut illustrations by Lynd Ward from the 1934 edition
• The unabridged 1831 text of the popular revised edition by Mary Shelley, as well as her complete, original 1818 text as an addendum
• A helpful introduction and author bio

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is the foundational text of both the horror and science fiction genres, a classic that has been read, discussed, and adapted in every medium for going on 200 years. Dreamed up when the author was only 18 while on holiday in Switzerland with her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley and the poet Lord Byron, Frankenstein is the result of a challenge from Byron to each write their own “ghost story.” The result was a tale that would become synonymous with horror, that would be the first novel to ask the question, Are there some things man was not meant to know?

Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant young scientist, discovers the secret to endowing inanimate flesh with life. Without thinking of the repercussions, he throws himself into realizing his ambition, only to recoil in terror at what he has created. Rejected by his creator and humanity, Frankenstein’s monster is driven by the primal desire to inspire love, or if to be cast aside, to inspire fear.

Containing both the common 1831 revised edition and the author’s original 1818 text of Frankenstein, this Top Five Classics edition also features all 65 of Lynd Ward’s hauntingly beautiful, moody, and subtly erotic woodcut illustrations from his 1934 edition.

Cover illustration by Adam Carabet
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