Two Centuries of Frankenstein's Monster
—Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Two hundred years ago, a novel by a young Mary Shelley became an instant bestseller. And for the last two centuries, readers have been mesmerized by Victor Frankenstein and his creature—a story of gothic horror and a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked science.
On New Year's Day 1818, Shelley's novel was first published in an anonymous three-volume edition of 500 copies. Since then, there have been many adaptations, including at least 120 films, as well as versions for TV, the stage, comics, and graphic novels.
In celebration of Frankenstein's longevity, a new art book, Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years, looks at the work's influences across literature and cinema.
Colin Clive in James Whale's Frankenstein (1931).
Lynd Kendall Ward's woodcut illustrations for the book's 1934 New York edition.
Jack Pierce's makeup for Elsa Lanchester as the Bride was based on ideas from James Whale and Ernest Thesiger.
Elizabeth (Mae Clarke), lying across her bed, was featured in much of the American publicity for Frankenstein (1931).
Top image: Original French billboard poster by artist Jacques Faria (1931). All images ©Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years, published by Reel Art Press, 2017.
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