Cindy's Reviews > Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
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Aug 03, 10

Read in May, 2010

I read very few classic books, but absolutely loved this one. The popular public image of Frankenstein -- the tower, the lightning, the lab coats and the maniacal evil scientist -- are so off the mark; the original story of Frankenstein is very different, and, in my opinion, so much better.

There is a lot of philosophical thought put into the story, and deep investigations into some of our most fundamental questions around topics like the human relationship with God, the nature of friendship and family, loneliness, science, nature and nurture, etc. etc. With the science fiction nature of the story, these questions were monumental for its time.

On characterization, the Monster character (for Frankenstein is actually the name of the scientist, and his creation unnamed) is a complex and deeply memorable one. The writing itself, while denser than modern fiction, is still quite readable and also quite beautiful, influenced by the Romanticism of Shelley's time; some might think the prose too excessively flowery, but I just went along for the ride. As mentioned before, this novel is at its core science fiction, and not horror -- the ghastly actions in the story are not about blood or monsters tearing apart bodies, they’re about consequences of the actions of men.


(There are many, many versions of this story. Mine was an Oxford World’s Classic version, based on the 1818 text, with an introduction and notes by Marilyn Butler.)
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