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'Now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart ...'

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.

Based on the third edition of 1831, this volume contains all the revisions Mary Shelley made to her story, as well as her 1831 introduction and Percy Bysshe Shelley's preface to the first edition. This revised edition includes as appendices a select collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 together with 'A Fragment' by Lord Byron and Dr John Polidori's 'The Vampyre: A Tale'.

273 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1818

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About the author

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

1,446 books6,242 followers
Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, often known as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, travel writer, and editor of the works of her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. She was the daughter of the political philosopher William Godwin and the writer, philosopher, and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Shelley was taken seriously as a writer in her own lifetime, though reviewers often missed the political edge to her novels. After her death, however, she was chiefly remembered only as the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and as the author of Frankenstein. It was not until 1989, when Emily Sunstein published her prizewinning biography Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, that a full-length scholarly biography analyzing all of Shelley's letters, journals, and works within their historical context was published.

The well-meaning attempts of Mary Shelley's son and daughter-in-law to "Victorianise" her memory through the censoring of letters and biographical material contributed to a perception of Mary Shelley as a more conventional, less reformist figure than her works suggest. Her own timid omissions from Percy Shelley's works and her quiet avoidance of public controversy in the later years of her life added to this impression.

The eclipse of Mary Shelley's reputation as a novelist and biographer meant that, until the last thirty years, most of her works remained out of print, obstructing a larger view of her achievement. She was seen as a one-novel author, if that. In recent decades, however, the republication of almost all her writings has stimulated a new recognition of its value. Her voracious reading habits and intensive study, revealed in her journals and letters and reflected in her works, is now better appreciated. Shelley's recognition of herself as an author has also been recognized; after Percy's death, she wrote about her authorial ambitions: "I think that I can maintain myself, and there is something inspiriting in the idea". Scholars now consider Mary Shelley to be a major Romantic figure, significant for her literary achievement and her political voice as a woman and a liberal.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 55,831 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
August 26, 2022
3rd Review
- August 2022

I read Frankenstein for a sixth time this week. Although it is one of my favourite novels, and in my opinion one of the finest pieces of fiction ever written, I find myself with a new appreciation of the text every time I come to it.

A large proportion of one of my PhD chapters is about this novel. I'm discussing the idea of the vegetable diet along with purity and becoming our natural selves. And I'm also considering notions of animal rights, of the idea that man is very much an animal too and he has lost this sense of original self. Frankenstein at its very core is a novel about duality, of our capability to be both good and evil and to be both human and animal.

There is so much to take from this book and there's so much that be taken apart, scrutinised and then put back together again. What's truly striking about the work is how much is reflects the anxieties of the age. It's full of insecurities about nature, god, science and our place in the world. Ultimately, it is a novel that creates a sense of unease because it highlights so much about the inauthentic nature of the lives many of us live. Running through the novel is a craving for freedom: a craving to to simply exist in a natural way.

2nd Review
- January 2020

Some books teach you something new each time you revisit them.

I picked up the tragically wonderful Frankenstein for a fifth time this week, and I was totally mesmerised by the descriptive language used to describe the natural world.

In all my previous readings, I focused on all the classic tropes of man and monster though I never considered the importance of the serene beauty that surrounds the story. The natural world dominates the background of the novel. It’s there, like a pervading monster that lingers in the darkest reaches of the mind.

What struck me most about it was the fact that both Victor and his creation long for a real life, a life where one is truly alive. And they both ponder what this means at length, reaching the same conclusion: to go completely nomad. They both wish to live a life free of burden and complications, no money, no commitments and no responsibility. They just want to be totally free in the wilderness with the ultimate goal of finding happiness by looking after their most immediate and natural desires.

And for me this says a great deal about society, not just the society in which this was written, but society in general: how many of us feel truly alive?

Original Review
- 2016

Let’s have a party Victor. Let’s get together and celebrate all things Gothic, and dark, and wonderful. Let’s have it in an attic in an old house in the middle of a thunderstorm, and then afterwards let’s go to the graveyard with our shovels and our body bags. Sounds good doesn’t it Victor? We could then create our own doppelgängers from the corpses of criminals and geniuses. Then we can abandon our marvellous creation to fend for itself with his childlike innocence, and then wonder why it goes so horribly wrong and blows up in our faces.

Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man. On second thought we probably shouldn’t have that party.

Because if we did it would end in blood


Yes, lots of blood: the blood of everyone you love, the blood of all your family Victor. You blame the monster, but you are his creator. You should have taught him the ways of the world and guided his first steps. The things you two could have accomplished together. So I ask you this Victor, who is the real monster? Is it the creature that has gone on a murderous rampage or it you? You are the man who played at god and was horrified at the consequence. You judged your creation by his physical appearance, which was more a reflection of your vain soul. Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man. Surely you don’t wonder why the monster revenged himself upon you?

“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...”

Indeed, the real monster of this novel is Victor Frankenstein, and not his monstrous creation. The creature is a monster on the outside but Victor is on the inside, which is a form much worse. By abandoning the creature he has taught him to become what his appearance is. The first human experience he receives is rejection based upon his physicality. His own creator recoils in disgust from him. He cannot be blamed for his actions if all he has been taught is negative emotion, he will only respond in one way. He is innocent and childlike but also a savage brute. These are two things that should never be put together. Woe to Victor Frankenstein’s family.

“There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.”


Mary Shelley raises questions of the danger of knowledge, and shows a probable consequence of trying to play god; the novel portrays nineteen century fears for the rising field of science and knowledge and questions how far it could go. Indeed, in this case Victor takes on the role of a God by creating new life. She also shows us what can happen to a man if he so driven by this thirst for knowledge and how it will ultimately lead to a fall. Victor reminds me somewhat of Doctor Faustus (The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus) in this regard. Faustus is a man who sold his soul to Lucifer for unlimited knowledge in the form of arcane magic. Victor, like Faustus, has stopped at nothing to gain his goal, but in the end is ultimately dissatisfied with the result.

Suffice to say, I simply adore this book as you may have gathered from my ramblings. I think this, alongside Dracula, are amongst the strongest representations of Gothic literature. Furthermore, I have a real soft spot for epistolary means of storytelling. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the stronger sense of intimacy you fell with the characters as you see their words on the page rather than an impartial narrators. You see inside their heads more and understand their motifs and feelings.

My favourite quote:

"This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.

Listen to the passion, to the intellect and witness such a wasted opportunity. Victor, you’re a silly, silly, man.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
January 13, 2012
My apologies, but this review is going to be a bit frantic due to my brain being so oxygen-starved by the novel’s breath-stealing gorgeousness that I'm feeling a bit light-headed. So please forgive the random thoughts.

First: Mary Shelley…I love you!!

Second: Dear Hollywood - you lying dung pile of literature-savaging, no talent hacks…you got this all wrong. Please learn to read and get yourself a copy of the source material before you FUBAR it again.

Third: My heart shattered for the “monster” and I haven’t felt this strong a desire to “hug it out, bitch” since reading Grendel and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. The “wretch” is so well drawn and powerfully portrayed that he form the emotional ligament for the entire story. He is among the finest creations the written form has to offer.

Fourth: As surprised as I am to be saying this, this novel has ousted Dracula as my all time favorite of the classic horror stories…sorry Bram, but the good/evil, sad, desperate loneliness of the orphaned monster trying to find a purpose and to define himself in the world trumps The Count.

No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these reflections, I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.
As gorgeous as the prose is, I thought it a crime not to include at least one quote.

Six: The “non-explanation” for the process that Victor uses to create the monster is thing of genius. No other approach could have possibly conveyed the majesty and significance of the achievement, because we would have known it was bullshit. Shelley did it perfectly…which leads me nicely into…

Seven: The corny, slapdash lightning scene is entirely a work of Hollywood? There’s …NO…lightning…scene? Are you kidding me? Even Kenneth Branagh’s supposedly “true” adaptation had electric eels providing power to the “it’s alive” process. All of it bunk. I’ll say it again, Hollywood is a bunch of useless tools. . LIARS!!!

Eight: Speaking of tools, Victor Frankenstein is a giant one. As far as I am concerned, he is clearly the villain of the piece. However, what I found so squee-inducingly magical about Shelly’s writing was my degree of vacillation when it came to Victor’s character. I liked and even admired Victor in the beginning of the story and found his personal journey compelling. He was a genius driven by his desire to unlock the secrets of the universe and had that manic, “mad scientist” focus necessary to the accomplishment of such a lofty goal. However, once the “birth” of the monster came, I found myself waffling back and forth throughout the rest of the story. Ironically, his moment of success and his reaction to life he had conjured was when he began to lose his humanity in my eyes.

His treatment of the monster was abhorrent. Despite this, Shelley was able to get me to see over my disgust and appreciate Frankenstein’s position and understand why he was so unwilling to continence the existence of “the wretch.” Not enough for me to forgive his lack of compassion, but enough for me to see him as a tragic figure. Huge propers for Shelley as that is excellent writing.

Nine: I would place the monster among the finest literary creations of all time. This singular manifestation of humanity’s scientific brilliance and callous indifference to the consequences thereof is masterfully done. Frankenstein’s “wretch” became the prototype of the literary outcast and every “misunderstood” creature since has been offspring from his loins. His character profile is phenomenal, and just as Victor’s actions garner sporadic moments of understanding for his cruel treatment of the monster, so the monster’s wanton acts of vile cruelty severely test our compassion for him. Tested, bent and stretched, but, for me at least, never broken. I understood his pain…I understood his anger…I understood.

Ten: No spoilers here, but the final resolution of the relationship between Victor and the child of his genius was…stellar. Everything was reconciled and nothing was resolved. The final reckoning occurs and it is both momentous and useless.

Eleven: I expected the prose to be good but, having never read Shelley before, I was still surprised by how exceptional and ear-pleasing it was. Her writing really resonated with me and I loved her ability to weave emotion, plot momentum and a high literary quotient seamlessly together. Good, good stuff.

Twelve: The novel is structured as an epistolary nesting doll using the frame story of Captain Walton corresponding with his sister about his expedition to the North Pole. While at the top of the world, Walton finds Victor Frankenstein stranded. This sets up the dovetail into Walton relaying Victor’s story which takes up the bulk of the novel and includes within it the incredibly poignant story of the “monster” in the creature’s own words. It is superbly executed and I thought the framing device was very effective.

Thirteen: Despite my trashing of the movie versions earlier, there was one scene that I thought was handled far better on screen than in this story. Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of was far more chilling than Shelley’s more subdued recounting. I actually anticipated this segment being far more shocking and I was a tad let down as a result. This is probably my only gripe about the book.

Fourteen: On my list of all time favorite novels. The writing, the story, the characters, the emotion, the imagery, the power…all off the charts.


P.S.(or Fifteen:) I listened to the audio version of this read by Simon Vance and his performance was extraordinary, especially his portrayal of the “monster.” Definitely check it out if you are a consumer of audio books.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,064 reviews69.5k followers
August 9, 2021
I finished it.

If you are a fan of classic literature and/or are utterly devoid of a sense of humor this review may not be for you.
Yes, I realize that I'm a moron with zero literary credibility. So, stop reading right now if the sound of an idiot whistling out of their asshole bothers you too terribly. Sure, you can comment below and tell me how stupid I am, but it probably won't make me a better person. Or will it...?


I've always wondered what the real Frankenstein story was like...and now I know.
Sadly, sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality.
And the reality is, this book is a big steaming pile of poo.

It's an old-timey horror story, right?
Not so much.
I mean, I wasn't expecting it to actually be scary, but I thought it might be slightly creepy. Unfortunately, the only horror in the story centered around me having to keep turning the pages.
Beware mortal! You will DIE of boredom! Oooga-Booga-Booga!
Yep. Truly frightening.


It starts like this:
An upper-crust guy sails off to the Arctic to make discoveries, and to pass the time he writes to his sister. Supposedly, he's been sailing around on whaling ships for several years. And he's been proven an invaluable resource by other captains.
So I'm assuming he's a pretty crusty ol' sailor at this point.
Pay attention, because this is where Shelly proves that she knows nothing about men...
So this guy goes on and on in these letters to his sister about how he wishes on every star that he could find a BFF at sea. After a few (too many) letters, they pull a half-frozen Frankensicle out of the water.
Aaaaand here's what our salty sea dog has to say about the waterlogged mad scientist...
"Blah, blah, blah...his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness...blah, blah, blah..."
Lustrous eyes?! No (straight) sailor ever, in the history of the world, EVER referred to another dude's eyes as lustrous.
And I know what you're thinking.
Well, Anne, maybe this character was gay. Didn't think about that, didja?!
Actually, yes. Yes, I did.
The only problem with that theory is that NONE of the male characters in this book sounded remotely male.
Ladies, do you remember that time in your life (probably around middle or high school), when you thought that guys actually had the same sort of thought waves running through their heads that we do? You know, before you realized that the really don't care about...well, all of the things that we do? You thought that while they were laughing at the booger their idiot friend just flicked across the room, something deeper was stirring in their mind. It just had to be!
I'm not sure when it happens, but at some point, every woman finally realizes the (fairly obvious) truth.
Men aren't women.
That booger was the funniest thing ever, and nothing was stirring around in them other than maybe some gas.
And that's ok.
Fart-lighting and long distance loogie hawking contests aside, they can pretty darn cool.
But this author was too young to realize that.
My personal opinion is that Mary was probably fairly sheltered when it came to real men. She was a teenage girl apparently running around with a bunch of artsy-fartsy dudes. Much like today, I would imagine these junior emos were probably blowing poetic smoke up her young ass in the high hopes of getting into her pants.
Although it's possible I'm totally misreading the situation.


Anyway, Frank tells his story, and Sea Dog writes it all down for his sister.
In excruciating detail.
Rivers, flowers, rocks, mountain tops...agonizingly cataloged. And the weather? God forbid a breeze blows through the story without at least a paragraph devoted to the way it felt on his skin or affected his mood!
And speaking of Frankenstein's mood.
I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of reading about a character this spineless before. What a pussy! He didn't talk so much as he whined.
And the swooning!
He was like one of those freaking Fainting Goats!
I can't even count how many times he blacked out and fell over. Of course, then he would get feverish and need "a period of convalescence" to recover.
Again, every episode was recounted with incredible attention to detail.
I'm thrilled that I never had to miss a moment of his sweaty brow getting daubed with water!

Randomly Inserted Fun Fact:
The monster quoted Milton in Paradise Lost.
Shockingly, I only know this because it was in the appendix, and not because I have any real-life experience with reading that one.


Was this the most painfully unnecessary book I've read this year?
Is there a deeper moral to this story?
Some would say, that the monster is a product of a society that refuses to accept someone who is different. Or maybe that Victor Frankenstein was the real monster for not realizing that he had a duty to parent and care for his creation? Perhaps it is meant to point out our obsession with perfection, and our willingness to disregard people who don't meet the standards of beauty as non-human?
Some might say any of those things.
I, however, learned a far different lesson from Frankenstein.
And it's this...
Trust no one.
Not even someone who (just an example) has been your Best Friend for decades!
Let's read a classic, Anne. It'll be fun, Anne. We can call each other with updates, Anne. It'll be just like a book club, Anne. Tee-hee!
Liar, liar! Pants on fire!
I read this whole God-awful book, and you quit after 10 pages!
I'm telling your mom!

Here's the quote that sums up my experience with Frankenstein:

"Blah, blah, blah...in all the misery I imagined and dreaded, I did not conceive the hundredth part of the anguish I was destined to endure."

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 27, 2019
“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
-From the 1994 movie

The worst thing about this novel is how distorted it has become by constant movie adaptations and misinformed ideas about the nature of Frankenstein and his "monster". For years, like many others, I thought Frankenstein was the name of that slightly green dude with the bolts in his neck. Nuh-uh.

Did Frankenstein scare me? Did it have me staying awake and sleeping with the light on, jumping at every slight creak in the house? Was I terrified of the monster and technology and the dangers of playing God? No. Because the beauty of this story is that it isn't the one so many people think it is. Which is almost my favourite thing about it. This book is not a Halloween kind of story with Halloween kind of monsters. This story is heartbreakingly sad.
“...once I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding.”

The book offers many interesting avenues of philosophical exploration if one wishes to ponder such things. For example, allusions to religion and Genesis, possible criticisms of using science to "play God", and the relationship between creator and creation. All of these things interest me, yes, but it is the painfully human part of this book that has always so deeply affected me.

Because the sad thing, the really sad thing, is that pretty much everyone has heard of Frankenstein's monster... but so many don't know how human the character is. Created as a scientific experiment by an overly ambitious man, he comes into a frightening and hostile world that immediately rejects him on sight. Even the man who made him cannot look upon his creation without feeling horror. It's that same thing that gets me in books every time: things could have been so different. If people had just been a little less judgmental, a little less scared, and a little more understanding.

This being, created from different parts of corpses, seeks love and finds hatred, so he instead decides to embrace it. Fuelled by his own rage at the unfairness of the world, he gradually turns towards evil.

He belongs in my own little mental category with the likes of Heathcliff and Erik (aka The Phantom of the Opera). Scared, angry villains who were made so by their own unfortunate circumstances. The kind of characters you simultaneously hate and love, but most of all hope they find some kind of peace.

So call it science-fiction, if you want. Call it horror, if you must. But this story is brimming with some of the most realistic and almost unbearably moving human emotion that I have ever read.

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Profile Image for Hannah.
797 reviews
October 26, 2009
No stars. That's right. Zero, zip. nada.

It's been almost 30 years since I've detested a book this much. I didn't think anything could be worse then Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Seems I'm never too old to be wrong. This time, I don't have the excuse that I was forced to read this for high school lit. class. Oh no, this time I read this of my own volition and for fun. Yeah, fun. Kinda like sticking bamboo shoots between my fingernails type of fun. Watching paint dry fun. Going to an Air Supply concert fun.

OK, to be fair, I need to tell you what I liked about this....

Well, Mary Shelley was a teen when she wrote this. Color me impressed. At 19 I was just looking for my next college boyfriend, not penning the great English classic. Kudos to Mary for that.

Otherwise, I can't think of anything to admire in this book, apart from the fact that it's the only book in my reading history where I actually noted EVERY SINGLE PAGE NUMBER and mentally counted down the time I'd be finished.

Why did I persist, you may ask? Well, at the point where the pain became mind numbing, I decided to channel my inner John McCain and just survive the torture. Figured it would make me a better, stronger reader. Might even make me enjoy a re-read of Breaking Dawn....(well, no it wouldn't, but you get the idea).

Frankenstein is a classic alright. A classic melodrama. Complete with a wimpy, vaporish, trembling prima donna main character and a pseudo monster whose only sin is being uglier then Bernie Madoff in cell block D. After the upteenth tremble/jerk/gasp/faint/start from our mad scientist Victor Frankenstein, I could only sign in relief that he wasn't a Rabbi about to perform a bris circumcism - oy vey!

Were we supposed to be outraged at the monster's killing spree? By the books end, I was merely miffed that the creature murdered the wrong Frankenstein sibling. He would have saved himself a good deal of traveling (and saved me a good deal of suffering) had he snuffed out his maker before he could high-tail it out of the birthing room.

I'm sure that the fans of this book will say that I didn't understand the deeper, symbolic nuances of this book, and I'm sure that they are right. At this point in my life, all I know is what I like and don't like in a book, and as far as I'm concerned, this book is unadulterated, mind-numbing crap. But that's just me. Your mileage will vary (as I sincerely hope it does). As for my own mileage, it can best be compared to driving a Ford Pinto in the Indy 500...

Due to the efforts of a few Kool-ade drinking trolls who have gotten their big girl/big boy panties in a wad over an almost 200 year old book and can't comment nicely on my review, I am suspending all future comments.

Don't like it? Blame the navel grazing trolls for not accepting the concept of a PERSONAL OPINION.
Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.8k followers
August 29, 2023
Don’t get why everyone spends so much time talking about “the theme of science versus nature” and how this is “the world’s first science fiction novel” when clearly this is the world’s pre-eminent text on the subject of the dire consequences of procrastination.

But whatever.

This book rules.

First off, it’s very funny to imagine old-timey 1800s people being scared by this. It’s in the same vein as thinking of that urban legend about the people who watched the first movie screaming when the train races toward them. “AAAAAH! I AM IN A THEATER, BUT I’M ABOUT TO GET HIT BY A TRAIN!!! HERE IT COMES! TELL MY WIFE I LOVE HER!”

I highly recommend reading it through that lens. Just thinking about that original audience who thought this was a horror. “Oh, my stars! A creature of most unholy origin! I daren’t think of it!” Idiots.

Again, I digress.

This is so beautifully written. It really forces you to slow down and take the story in, just so you don’t miss a gorgeous line - which in turn makes you appreciate how many great and beautifully executed themes there are at play.

Count me impressed.

But again, I’m mostly just thinkin’ bout how #relatable Frankenstein is.

And also the fact that I can Finally I can be one of those assholes who’s like “Frankenstein is the SCIENTIST, not the monster!!!!”

I’m living the dream.

Bottom line: This is nonstop fun and everyone should have (read: read) it.

currently-reading updates

can already relate to victor frankenstein as i, too, create massive problems and then avoid dealing with them until the repercussions threaten to destroy my life and even then am kinda like "ok but do i have to"
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
September 2, 2022
80% of this book is just Victor Frankenstein falling into months-long fevers at the slightest inconvenience and also being a colossal piece of shit. The Creature, on the other hand, is the poster-monster for anyone who’s ever felt Othered and I simply LOVE HIM.
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 12, 2022
Victor Frankenstein Chill The Fuck Out Challenge
Profile Image for Federico DN.
401 reviews811 followers
March 26, 2023
Some monsters are not born, they are created by the cruelty around them.

Victor Frankenstein is a scientist and alchemist obsessed with creating life. Neglecting his betrothed, friends and even himself, he devotes all energy and efforts to the construction of his Creation, an unspeakable thing formed of human parts scavenged from cemeteries and other undesirable places, which he intends to bring back to life. His dream turning into a nightmare when he actually succeeds.

The terrible and unfortunate story of Dr. Frankenstein and his Creation. Two immortal characters that transcended literature. Dr. Frankenstein was more than a scientist; and his Creation more than a monster. Both characters immersed in an unwinnable fight against adversity and misery, fighting each other, and against themselves. Each one with the disadvantages proper of their nature. Each one a person, and a monster. Both tragically linked because of one defining moment of pain; A story that makes you think, and suffer, for both of them.

A classical masterpiece that spawned countless of adaptations and retellings; in books, films, plays, and whatnot. Fast paced, short and easy to read. A must read in life. Highly Recommendable.

It’s public domain, you can find it HERE.

*** Frankenstein (1994) is an acceptable adaptation at best, even with a stellar cast including stars like Branagh, De Niro and Bonham Carter. All the main ingredients of a good movie were present, and the plot faithful enough to the book. Still, overall it felt just average, barely watchable and excessively over the top for no good reason. Interesting to complement the reading, but not really recommendable.

Still remaining, the movie (1931)

[1818] [260p] [Classics] [Highly Recommendable]

Algunos monstruos no nacen, son creados por la crueldad a su alrededor.

Victor Frankenstein es un científico y alquimista obsesionado con crear vida. Descuidando a su prometida, amigos e incluso a sí mismo, dedica toda su energía y esfuerzos a la construcción de su Creación, una innombrable cosa formada de partes humanas recuperadas de cementerios y otros indeseables lugares, a la cual intenta hacer volver a la vida. Su sueño convirtiéndose en pesadilla cuando finalmente lo logra.

La terrible e infortunada historia del Dr. Frankenstein y su Creación. Dos personajes inmortales que transcendieron la literatura. El Dr. Frankenstein era más que un científico; y su Creación más que un monstruo. Ambos personajes sumidos en una pelea imposible contra la adversidad y la desdicha, luchando uno contra otro, y contra sí mismos. Cada uno con las desventajas propias de su naturaleza. Cada uno una persona, y un monstruo. Ambos trágicamente vinculados por un momento definido en el dolor; Una historia que da para pensar, y sufrir, por ambos dos.

Una obra maestra clásica que engendró incontables adaptaciones y recreaciones; en libros, películas, teatro, y que no. De ritmo rápido, corta y fácil de leer. Una lectura obligada de la vida. Altamente Recomendable.

Es dominio público, lo pueden encontrar ACA.

*** Frankenstein (1994) es una aceptable adaptación cuando mucho, incluso con un elenco estelar incluyendo estrellas como Branagh, De Niro y Bonham Carter. Todos los ingredientes de una buena película estuvieron presente, y la trama lo suficientemente fiel al libro. Sin embargo, en conjunto se sintió sólo promedio, apenas veíble y excesivamente exagerada sin buena justificación. Interesante para complementar la lectura, pero no exactamente recomendable.

Queda pendiente, la película (1931)

[1818] [260p] [Clásicos] [Altamente Recomendable]
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book938 followers
June 22, 2021
Mary Wollstonecraft, a teenager, was spending a vacation in Switzerland with her fiancé, Percy Shelley, their mutual friend, Lord Byron, and a few other people. Was the weather gloomy that summer of 1816? Were the companions bored to death? One evening, they challenged each other into writing the scariest ghost story they could come up with. No one remembers what the fellows wrote on that occasion. Except for the young woman’s literary creature and the misfortunes of Victor Frankenstein.

Since then, what was meant as an entertaining story, rose to the dimension of a myth. So much so that the original novel itself has been covered up by layer upon layer of external imagery, which has very little to do with it — in particular, the heavily made-up face of Boris Karloff in the 1931 unfaithful film adaptation of this book. Nowadays, there are all sorts of adaptations (e.g. Kenneth Branagh’s movie, with De Niro, more on that below), parodies (Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein), and probably even spooky porn versions.

However, Mary Shelley’s novel is not so much about ghosts or monsters, as it is a meditation on the Biblical theme of Creation and Fall. Naturally, the idea of creating a living being — using some human technique instead of natural reproduction —, comes from the 16th-century Jewish narrative of the Golem of Prague. The subtle hints and overt references to Milton’s Paradise Lost are also quite noticeable — the “daemon”, rejected from the start as an ugly duckling, learns to read with a copy of this book (?). At any rate, Frankenstein is a brilliant and existential reverie on the theme of God and Satan (Frankenstein and the “daemon”) and Adam and Eve (Frankenstein and Elizabeth / the monster and the potential lady-monster).

Another striking aspect of Frankenstein’s narrative is the Russian-dolls-like structure of the tales: first Captain Walton’s letters, which frame the whole novel, then Victor Frankenstein’s account and, finally, a tale within the tale, the daemon’s story. This particular form is in keeping with earlier gothic novels and harks back to the One Thousand and One Nights, to which Mary Shelley might have had access, through Antoine Galland’s translation into French. Incidentally, Safie’s story, around the middle of the novel (another embedded tale within a tale), has some oriental undertones.

Mary Shelley’s book is considered one of the earliest examples of the Science Fiction genre. However, there is not much science or technology to speak of in Frankenstein, apart from a few mentions of Paracelsus and a couple of other alchemists and astrologers. The minor references to electricity, magnetism and galvanism are in the spirit of the times. Still, Michael Faraday, who would soon bring significant breakthroughs in these fields, was about the same age as the precocious author of Frankenstein. Still, the presence of electromagnetism is not only a reference to the myth of Prometheus and the stolen fire. If anything, it expresses a fascination with landscapes: now sunny, beautiful and pleasant; now stormy, sublime and menacing, with ghastly thunderbolts ripping the clouds apart. Mary Shelley had a couple of predecessors — Coleridge is quoted a few times in her novel —, but that sort of imagery was, by and large, a novelty at the time. It might be interesting to note that while Mary Shelley was writing Frankenstein, Caspar David Friedrich was painting his famous Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (see below). This obsession with ominous landscapes would soon become a trope within the romantic and gothic literary tradition (cf. the often ridiculed Bulwer-Lytton’s “dark and stormy night”).

Frankenstein is also considered an early example of the modern Horror genre. However, the general impression is not exactly a feeling of terror. Rather a romantic and quite often bombastic expression of strong emotions: despair, anguish, despondency, melancholy, misery, wretchedness, affliction, etc., are words that come repeatedly under Mary Shelley’s pen. This accumulation of epithets might feel quaint and a little schmaltzy to a modern reader.

Even so, Frankenstein has probably been a significant inspiration to crime mystery novels, such as Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and later avatars of serial killers on a murderous rampage. It has probably also exerted a strong influence on scary adventure stories, such as Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Wells’ Island of Doctor Moreau, or Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. It might, nowadays, become once more a significant source of inspiration, as contemporary technology explores new forms of sentient and intelligent beings, out of GMO, silicon or some weird combination of the two.

Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the sea of fog

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), directed by Kenneth Branagh, followed Francis Ford Coppola’s box-office hit Bram Stocker’s Dracula (1992). The cast is imposing: De Niro, Branagh, Hulce, Bonham Carter, Holm, Cleese. The screenplay (written by Frank Darabont, who would later develop The Walking Dead TV series) is, for the most part, faithful to Mary Shelley’s novel. However, while Coppola’s Dracula was darkly luxurious and decadent, the style of Branagh’s Frankenstein is loud and vehement, at times stomach-churning or downright silly.

The biopic Mary Shelley (2017) by Haifaa al-Mansour, with Elle Fanning, is primarily a romance, recounting the complicated situation in which the young woman met her husband and how she got to write her masterpiece. The portrayals of Percy Shelley and Lord Byron are rather unflattering.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
October 17, 2017
This was awesome. I listened to an audiobook on YouTube (as it is under the public domain). You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuyEa.... It was great. The narrator did a great job of building the atmosphere and excitement in the story. I always love reading the original stories behind some very iconic pop culture figures. Frankenstein is obviously incredibly popular. It was great to read and do a little bit of a personal independent study on (major nerd here). The perfect Halloween read!
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book82k followers
April 2, 2019

It's been fifty years since I had read Frankenstein, and, now—after a recent second reading—I am pleased to know that the pleasures of that first reading have been revived. Once again--just as it was in my teens--I was thrilled by the first glimpse of the immense figure of the monster, driving his sled across the arctic ice, and marveled at the artful use of narrative frames within frame, each subsequent frame leading us closer to the heart of the novel, until we hear the alienated yet articulate voice of the creature himself. In addition, I admired the equally artful way the novel moves backward through the same frames until we again reach the arctic landscape which is the scene of the novel's beginning...and its end.

This time through, I was particularly struck with how Mary must have been influenced by the novels of her father. The relentless hounding of one man by another who feels his life has been poisoned by that man's irresponsible curiosity is a theme taken straight out of Godwin's Caleb Williams, and the cautionary account of a monomaniac who gradually deprives himself of the satisfactions of family, friends and love in pursuit of an intellectual ideal is reminiscent of the alchemist of St. Leon. Her prose also is like her father's in her ability to make delicate philosophical distinctions and express abstract ideas, but she is a much better writer than he: her sentences are more elegant and disciplined, and her descriptive details more aptly chosen and her scenes more effectively realized.

The conclusion of the novel seems hasty and incomplete, but perhaps that is because the concept of Frankenstein is so revolutionary that no conclusion could have seemed satisfactory. At any rate, this fine novel has given birth to a host of descendants, and—unlike Victor Frankenstein—is a worthy parent of its many diverse creations.
Profile Image for Bella.
561 reviews15.1k followers
October 20, 2022
2nd read:

scientists just don't re-animate corpses like they used to it's disappointing

1st read:

All this time I thought I didn't like classics; turns out I just hadn't read the right ones.

I can't help but feel empathy for Frankenstein's creature, and abhor humankind for its prejudice and malice that drove this creature to murder when all he craved was the warmth of companionship.

I will never forgive modern media for making believe that this story was about a mindless, incoherent creature incapable of stringing two words together who's only destiny was to kill and be evil when in actuality all he wanted was FRIENDSHIP.

I, too, relate to his absolute emo vibes; when he says "Hateful day when i received life!" and "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous." I'm just like yeah exactly he gets it he knows
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
969 reviews6,872 followers
September 12, 2023
’Man,’ I cried, ‘how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!’

For over 200 years Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has captured our minds and toyed with our fears, entering the canon of classic while remaining as relevant and thought provoking a metaphor as science progresses onward. It is certainly worthy of the lasting fame, being an exquisite blend of gothic horror and Romantic morality that delves into philosophical and allegorical inquiries in an endlessly engaging narrative that had me reading late into the night with a fervor to reach the end. It is a story we likely all know, and not much new to say someone hasn’t already said and better, but even still I was fascinated by every detail, with its fabulist monster story, the nested framing of two men on a quest in the arctic, the epistolary narrative, the plots of murderous vengeance and, of course, the fall from innocence with the damnation of ambition. This is also a story about how being a deadbeat dad passes along trauma that reacts negatively and is rather terrifying with its massive monster that moves fast and kills hard. This cautionary creation tale of catastrophe forces us to confront the grotesqueries of humanity grappling with life and death, and question what is truly monstrous.

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.

This is a book where the story about its creation is just as compelling as the novel itself. Written when Mary Shelley was 19, this would arrive on the scene under high expectations to see what the young writer of notable literary heritage (her father was William Godwin and her late mother the feminist writer and activist Mary Wollstonecraft) would produce. ‘My husband,’ she writes in an introduction, referring to Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘was from the first very anxious that I should prove myself worthy of my parentage and enroll myself on the page of fame.’ The novel sprang into creation supposedly during a dream (not unlike her doctor Frankenstein’s prophetic dream of creation) after Lord Byron proposed to his friends they each should write a ghost story while they were all stuck indoors on a retreat together at Lake Geneva. This same retreat would also birth the novel The Vampyre by John William Polidori, who based his villain on Byron himself because Lord Byron was kind of insufferable. And a deadbeat dad, not unlike Victor Frankenstein. The novel itself can be read as a commentary on the experience of writing it, something she teases in her introduction about the creative experience of an artist and to which she writes that ‘I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper.’ Unlike her doctor, there is a sense of care over her creation. Now, onward!

To examine the causes of life we must first have recourse to death.

This book is sort of the antidote to those cliche inspirational office posters about ambition everyone had in the 90s, because here we find ambition to drip into arrogance and basically create calamity. Framed from the perspective of Cpt. Walton as he attempts to reach the North Pole—and fails—we hear the story of another man who’s blinded by his own ambition until it is too late. Doctor Victor Frankenstein’s story is a chilling fall-from-grace story, beginning with a sweet adolescence that slowly turns to the grotesque along a path of bloodied corpses of innocent people to chronicle his own loss of innocence. The spark to this is the early death of his mother, coupled with his reading of scientific books at university (self-education through books is mirrored as well through his monster), amalgamating into an idea with the best intentions to ‘renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.’ We all know the maxim that good intentions are the paving stones to Hell, however.

Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed.

While we tend to just remember the Doctor’s last name, the full title of the book is Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, and here we begin to understand why fire and light is such a frequent symbol. As Prometheus gave fire to humans and was punished for it, we see Frankenstein attempt to ‘pour a torrent of light into our dark world’ by conquering death and creating life (with electric shock instead of fire but close enough), something that will be his own undoing. It is only natural, drawing on ideas of the Romantics that nature is the pinnacle of good and perfection and since he ‘collected bones from charnel houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame,’ to create and give life to his creation, therefore the manufactured (see also: “unnatural”) creation must also be profane and Frankenstein shall be punished. You know, the whole ‘don’t play god’ argument. The creature wrecks havoc on Frankenstein’s life as ‘the cold stars shone in mockery,’ and the barren Arctic is a sort of Hell (devoid of fire and warmth) where Victor inevitably meets his demise.

Yet Victor never views his ambitions as unnatural (him and the Captain being figuratively blinded by their ambitions functioning as another fire/light metaphor), and even at the end he says to Walton ‘I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed.’ He sees no ethical dilemma in his manufacturing of life, his fears stem from the supposed hideousness of his creation—‘ugly…a thing such as Dante could not have conceived’—and then later the string of murders. ‘A new species would bless me as its creator and source,’ Victor writes, propping himself up as a paternal godlike figure, ‘no father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs,’ however he fails as a father to his creation by abandoning it. He does not even give the creation a name, even when hunting it after the multiple murders. This is key, as in fairy tales naming something is a way to take away it’s power (think Rumpelstiltskin being defeated by guessing his name). ‘I think of the act of naming as diagnosis,Rebecca Solnit writes in her essay Call Them by Their True Names, ‘once you name a disorder, you may be able to connect to the community afflicted with it, or build one.’ Seeing as the creation turns to evil deeds due to a feeling of isolation and being othered, this idea of naming, of giving a space, makes the lack of naming or any parental care more emphasized as a fatal misstep. So not only does Victor have his fall from grace for trying to play god, but also failing in even the most basics of paternal support.

Am i to be thought the only criminal, when all human kind sinned against me?

Let's turn now to Frankenstein’s monster. Left to his own devices, this giant manufactured from death finds he is met with fear and misunderstanding at every turn. While he seems to only have pure intentions at first, he is pushed into solitude and begins to lash out, especially at his creator (definitely some religious symbolism there). While he may be manmade, he is also very human all the way down to emotions and existential crises of selfhood:
I was dependent on none and related to none. The path of my departure was free, and there was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them.

The creature conducts his autodidactic education mostly through reading and watching a family interact. Among his books are Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, the latter being very influential on his impressions of the world and themself. From Milton he reads himself first as Adam in the creation story, but later identifies with Satan instead:
I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.

Though he also notes that ‘yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone’ Milton pops up everywhere in his sections, such as the monsters statement that ‘evil thenceforth became my good,’ which paraphrases Milton’s line ‘Evil be thou my good.’ In an essay on the novel, Joyce Carol Oates argues that the monster’s surprise at his reflection in the water is not a reference to Narcissus as is typically claimed, but instead a reference to Eve from Paradise Lost: ‘Of sympathy and love; there I had fixt / Mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire.’ This, she argues, makes the monster a sort of reverse holy trinity of creation instead of creator, speaking from Milton’s Adam, Eve and Satan as opposed to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. There is another interesting reversal that Shelley plays with, something William Veeder calls the ‘negative Oedipus.’ The monster kills Elizabeth to get to his ‘father’, Frankenstein, while the death of the doctor’s mother is his motivation to play Holy Father. At all times Shelley constructs a duality of parenthood and horror.

While the classic human vs nature and the whole ethical conundrum is fascinating, it is the look at the person under the extreme absence of love and support that grabs me most. On one hand it is an intriguing look at the horrors of isolation and being othered, but it also makes me wonder how narratives like this became concrete in collective consciousness and instill further fear into people against anything different. Is this also central to ideas of xenophobia and pushbacks against equality, the fear that if we allow the marginalized to have space they will harm the people-of-status-quo/colonizers as a state of revenge? Thinking about it that way is frustrating and sad, the idea that those who have been harmed continue to be so out of fear for the repercussions, which only furthers the othering and marginalizing. So I guess that’s something to consider too and work on undoing in social consciousness. And a reminder to give love and empathy. The creation only wanted to be understood, given empathy and space, given love.

I could not understand why men who knew all about good and evil could hate and kill each other.

Now the question here proposed by Shelley is, who is the ‘true’ monster? The man who reached for the profane and abandoned it into a life of torment turning toward evil, or the misunderstood being thrust into the world already considered an abomination and becoming ‘malicious because I am miserable.’ Its ethical quandaries like this that make this a fantastic classroom choice or one to toss and turn with for days. The National Theater had an excellent stage adaptation where the two leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, alternated roles as Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster to further interrogate this question. Though perhaps the creation says it best: ‘Listen to me, Frankenstein. You accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man!

In an interview with LitHub, author Jeanette Winterson says of Frankenstein that ‘we are the first generations to read it not as gothic horror but as contemporary reality.’ Where Shelley’s doctor steals body parts to create life with electricity, in our modern day we are pushing closer towards digital AI and already have manufactured body parts to replace our own. Even just this week it has been in the news that scientists have revived cells in dead pig’s brains and other organs, something that could be a breakthrough in increasing viable organ transplants. Perhaps there is something to learn from Victor’s failures as we consider how to usher new systems into the world, such as issues of bias in algorithms, or if an AI were to learn from us, what are we reflecting back to ourselves. Perhaps this is why Mary Shelley’s classic has endured all this time; with each new advancement in science many fear a Frankenstein unleashing his monster and with each ambition of our own we fear what may happen if we are blinded by our desires. Mary Shelley captures this perfectly and I was surprised how engaging this book was and how relevant it still felt all these years later.


Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of the flannel.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.9k followers
June 22, 2023
¡Lo disfruté mucho más de lo que esperaba! Todo el tiempo me mantuvo intrigada y, sorprendentemente, no me esperaba nada de lo que pasó, no tenía idea de cómo iba a desarrollarse la historia.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,862 followers
December 26, 2022
Let´s sew some bodyparts together

Creating life has never been so disgusting
And it started an avalanche of fantasy, horror, and sci fi ideas on how to best pimp one's corpse, zombie, alien parasite, etc. Before Frankenstein, there has always been the idea of resurrecting the dead, something comparable to the concept of creating life out of a modular system with different parts lego style. That´s the

Underlying ethical, philosophical part
Besides faith, there is an open question about identity, soul, consciousness, and especially death. Something so deeply build into our fragile flesh systems that it freaks us out each time we are confronted with it. Thinking about the implications is what Frankenstein is about, mixed with

Borderline science and the question of who is really evil
Mad scientists are certainly as old as time, although I can´t choose if a crazy priest vivisecting human sacrifices is cooler than a Star Wars/Trek antagonist letting robots and AI do all the dirty work. However, it often seems as if the creature, monster, or übermensch created was the truly terrible thing and not the people sponsoring this stuff. By contrasting this with the monster Shelley gives a

Crash course in morality
That´s something ignored and misunderstood in many interpretations and new variations, because it has much to do with one's ideology. A reason for that might be that it´s much easier to create a stereotypical work without much depth than to show the complex inner lives of all protagonists and antagonists.
Integrating this element opens up many ethical implications regarding who the real monster is, leading to

Too many open questions that can´t be answered easily
So instead of being an action filled or thrilling horror fantasy novel, Frankenstein is much deeper than one would expect. Because, honestly, didn´t many people reading it expect something like a typical horror novel and were surprised by the density of wtf moments letting one stop reading to question humanities and life itself?

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews5,634 followers
August 3, 2022
مولد "وحش"بدون ام ..بعد تجارب دامت 9 اشهر
هذا هو ملخص..خيال فج..جامح..يصيبني بالدهشة دائما
.كلما تأكدت انه صدر عن فتاة في سن 19 عاشت في مطلع القرن 19

ماري شيللي..فتاة ثرية مثقفة واجهت احساس الفقد مبكرا..نشات يتيمة الام منذ الولادة
و فقدت ابنتها الرضيعةScreenshot-2018-08-16-12-06-05-1
..و هكذا ناقشت كل مشاكلها مع الموت من خلال دكتورفرانكشتاين
طبيب شاب ناقص الإيمان..فيبدأ تجارب كهرباءية حمقاء
لبعث الجثث؟💥 و سرعان ما حظى"بصنيعته" المفترض انه مثال الجمال و الخلود..مسخ بشع..ذو سحنة ملفقة
ليطرده بقسوة
و💫 تبدأ بعدها المشاكل الحقيقية لفرانكشتاين..
.و يبدا في تصحيح الخطا بخطأ من الطراز ذاته..

مشاعر المسخ المجروحة و ذكاؤه اللافت كانت المفاجأة الحقيقية في الرواية
وبسببها صارت علامة هامة على طريق أدب الرعب
رواية متعددة الطبقات..بسيطة اللغة..مليئةبالعواطف المتناقضة.. و من افضل الروايات التي تعرضت لمشاعر الفقد..و الندم

و من المؤكد ان الرواية كانت تطهير لمشاعر ماري شيللي
و تصالحت من خلالها مع اهم حقائق الحياة:و
هي الموت
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,000 followers
September 10, 2018
REREAD UPDATE - September 2018:

One of my bookclubs (Click to check out Reading List Completists) is reading this for September 2018. I figure it was a good time for a reread since it was one of my favorites and it has been over 20 years since I read it.

I did enjoy it again this time and it stands up to the 5 star review and designation of classic. There were a few slow parts - mainly when Dr. Frankenstein would stop the narrative to wax poetical about something - but, not enough t take a way from my overall enjoyment.

I still recommend this for everyone and be sure to check out my full original review below.


This is definitely one of my favorite books I was required to read in High School. Also, it is my favorite of the classic horror novels. It is perfectly written, suspenseful, and is a bit more thought provoking than scary. One of the best ways I can compare it to other classic horror novels is to Dracula - which I read recently. Dracula has so much repetitive filler that you do not find in Frankenstein, which is the main reason I find Frankenstein to be a more enjoyable book.

Also, I would say that this is more a novel of the human condition than an actual horror novel. Some terrifying things happen, but it is the monster within all of us that may end up being more terrifying!

Funny side story: when I read this in High School, it was around the same time that the Kenneth Branaugh adaptation came out at the theaters. We were all encouraged to go see it and found it pretty close to the source material. What was amusing was that Time Magazine had a review of the movie bashing it as untrue to the source material and how disappointed Shelley would be that the Boris Karlovian depiction of a lurching, flattop monster with bolts in its neck was ignored for a more serious drama movie. WHAT!? Time Magazine, for goodness sakes, published an article that claims to know the content of the book but is completely wrong and does it while bashing a movie that did a pretty good job with it!? I mean, it it is okay if you prefer the old time movie version of Frankenstein - and it is a classic - but to make definitive statements that are completely wrong in what is supposed to be a well thought of publication (not your typical tabloid supermarket checkout fodder), that is just too much!

We need a copy editor over here!
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,196 reviews1,819 followers
December 4, 2022

Ecco il primo Frankenstein della storia del cinema: 1910, è un cortometraggio muto, americano, regia di James, Searley Dawley.

Sono passati duecento anni, due secoli tra questo 2018 e quella notte del 1818.
Sono la tua creatura, ricordalo: avrei dovuto essere il tuo Adamo, e sono invece l’angelo caduto che tu hai allontanato dalla gioia senza colpa alcuna da parte sua.

Dieci anni dopo, 1920, sempre epoca di cinema muto, il primo Frankenstein italiano: la regia è di Eugenio Testa, Umberto Guarracino interpreta il Mostro (questo è l’unico fotogramma sopravvissuto del film).

Non si può dire che Mary Shelley sia nata sotto i migliori auspici.
Figlia dei due più grandi uomini del loro tempo (definizione che credo sia di Mario Praz), la madre Mary Wollstonecraft, probabilmente la prima femminista della storia, e il padre William Godwin, intellettuale e filosofo radicale, la futura signora Shelley nacque il 30 agosto al posto del figlio maschio che era atteso e per il quale era già pronto il nome di William junior.
Il 30 agosto venne alla luce Mary, la madre si ammalò, dieci giorni di febbre, e, il 10 settembre morì.
Segno indelebile sulla piccola Mary che probabilmente da questo momento acquistò la predisposizione al dolore e la sensibilità esasperata. Una storia più romantica d’ogni possibile romanzo, come Mary stessa definì la sua vita.
Sembra che ogni giorno si recasse sulla tomba della madre: a piangere, ma a sedici anni anche a promettere amore eterno al suo principe, o meglio, al suo poeta azzurro, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Il Frankenstein che ha cambiato la storia: 1931, regia di James Whale, così appare Boris Karloff nei panni della creatura dopo quattro ore quotidiane di trucco. Da qui in avanti l’aspetto fisico del mostro si rifarà a questo modello.

Per continuare sul terreno fecondo alla sua narrativa impregnata di sorrowful mood, Mary a 19 anni ha già perso la prima figlia, dopo solo un mese dalla nascita; partorisce un maschio, che muore a tre anni; ha un’altra femmina, che muore a un anno.
Più o meno nello stesso periodo, la sorella maggiore Fanny, figlia di padre diverso, si suicida con il laudano. Nel giro di poco si suicida anche la prima moglie di Shelley, preparando così la strada al matrimonio tra la scrittrice e il poeta.
Mary riuscì a seppellire anche il suo amato Percy, che morì annegato.

Il romanzo di Polidori fu scritto contemporaneamente a quello della Shelley.

È proprio in questo arco di tempo, segnato da morte e suicidio (tutte morti premature, se esiste un tipo di morte che non lo sia), che Mary Shelley partorisce il suo romanzo più famoso, Frankenstein, or, the modern Prometheus, tra il 1816 e il 1817, tra i diciannove e i venti anni (fu pubblicato nel 1818).
La genesi è aneddoto piuttosto noto: Mary è convinta da sua sorella Claire (Clairmont: stessa madre ma padre differente), che all’epoca era l’amate di Lord Byron, a seguirla a Ginevra dove affittano Villa Diodati. La comitiva è composta da Mary e Shelley, Claire e Byron, il medico e scrittore John Polidori. Tempo piovoso, fu l’anno definito “senza estate”, gli amici leggono molto, soprattutto storie tedesche di fantasmi e il Paradiso Perduto di John Milton. Alla fine (solo tre giorni), Mary produce il Frankenstein, Byron frammenti di un romanzo, e Polidori Il Vampiro, il primo vampiro moderno.

La versione cinematografica che trovo più prossima al romanzo della Shelley è questa, del 1994: regia di Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro interpreta la mostruosa creatura.

Si direbbe che Mary tolga la vita a chi la genera (la morte di parto di sua madre) e generi chi in vita non sa restare (i tre figli): nascere è direttamente collegato al morire, che col Frankenstein diventa assassinio.
E Mary si sente contemporaneamente sia il creatore Frankenstein che la mostruosa creatura: Victor Frankenstein, lo scienziato e costruttore impegnato a riprodurre la vita (dalla morte, servendosi di parti di persone già morte) rifiuta la creatura che ha messo al mondo, e la creatura rifiutata si trasforma in agente di distruzione e morte, con metodo, ostinazione, e si direbbe quasi passione, si impegna a distruggere la famiglia del suo autore.
Nel senso che, se la famiglia non lo vuole, il neonato (di dimensioni e proporzioni mostruose) eliminerà la famiglia.

Kenneth Branagh, regista e interprete, nei panni (pantaloni) del dottor Victor Frankenstein.

Viene da rintracciare una genesi del pensiero materno in materia di femminilità nel rifiuto della creatura al momento del concepimento: invece di provare affetto in qualche modo ‘paterno’, Frankenstein classifica la sua creazione come mostruosa sulla base del solo aspetto fisico e la respinge immediatamente (rifiuta, rinnega…).
Eppure il ‘neonato’ non può essere malvagio fin dal primo momento, non può essere nato cattivo.

Ed ecco qui a confronto la creatura e il suo creatore, Frankenstein/Branagh e Mostro/De Niro.

Victor Frankenstein, medico e scienziato, è il moderno Prometeo: che ruba il fuoco della vita, ruba la vita alla stessa morte: la materia morta si trasforma in energia viva. Orrenda metamorfosi!
Ma se è Frankenstein a sfidare dio, è sulla creatura che si scatena la punizione divina!
È la stessa Shelley a essere, per così dire, schizofrenica con i suoi due personaggi: per quanto il lettore dovrebbe tifare in automatico per la creatura che è innocente, è una tabula rasa, dato che è appena nata, e certo non responsabile della sua nascita (come non lo è nessun figlio), la Shelley ci spinge (forse perfino di più) a prendere le parti del dottor Frankenstein, ci vuol convincere che la creatura è un mostro prima di tutto per il suo aspetto fisico (brutta, antiestetica).
Jekyll e Hyde con settanta anni d’anticipo.

Non poteva mancare il capolavoro, “young Frankenstein” di Mel Brooks (1974). Qui, Aigor “appena morto”.

Ma è un mostro umano, probabilmente il primo, e sin dalla sua prima apparizione il terrore si mescola alla compassione, perché la Creatura, che ruba il nome al suo creatore diventando Frankenstein tout court, è da subito un infelice, una vittima, un diverso, qualcuno con cui possiamo identificarci.
Talmente umano da diventare sovrumano: la sua dimensione sessuale è elemento di curiosità e attrazione, almeno sullo schermo. Si pensi a Udo Kier che si accoppia con Dalila Di Lazzaro in Il mostro è in tavola, barone Frankenstein prodotto da Andy Warhol, oppure ad Aldo Maccione macho trash in Frankenstein all’italiana, al Frank-N-Furter in guêpière e paillettes in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, o al tenerissimo mostro creatura di Mel Brooks dotato di grosso schwanzstuck.

Creatore e creatura, padre e figlio, Gene Wilder e Peter Boyle.

Tutti gli uomini odiano gli sciagurati. Quanto allora devo essere odiato io, di gran lunga il più miserabile tra gli esseri viventi. Pure tu, mio creatore, detesti e disprezzi me, tua creatura, a cui sei legato da vincoli che solo l’annientamento di uno di noi può sciogliere.

I film dove compare Frankenstein, o meglio, la sua creatura, il Mostro, sono decine, io ne ho contati oltre settanta, incluse le parodie (su tutte, Frankenstein Jr), i cross-over (Frankenstein contro l’Uomo Lupo) , le parodie cross-over (Fracchia contro Dracula).

Tim Curry indimenticabile Dr Frank-N-Furter in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, il primo artefice bisessuale della “creatura”.
Profile Image for Franco  Santos.
484 reviews1,360 followers
February 16, 2016
Mucho se ha hablado de Frankenstein. Se interpreta como una crítica al desarrollo científico, cuando este sobrepasa el curso natural de las cosas; se interpreta como una crítica a la religión y nuestra relación con Dios; hasta se ha dicho que es una alegoría a los miedos que surgen durante un embarazo. Todas estas lecturas probablemente sean correctas, pero omiten lo más básico. Lo que hace a Frankenstein una obra atiborrada de humanidad, con interpolaciones que abordan la desventura a través de la complejidad de tres voces que derraman soledad y melancolía.

Si intentara tratar a Frankenstein desde lo más superficial, acabaría hablando sobre la profundidad del espíritu humano y los peligros que conlleva un uso desmedido de sus facultades cognitivas o la influencia del sentimiento en sus actos. No se puede discutir este título sin penetrar en lo más reflexivo de nuestra naturaleza. Frankenstein, en su perfil más somero, abarca temas que atraviesan la columna vertebral de lo que nos hace seres en constante conflicto de moralidades y en una interminable búsqueda por pertenecer y ser reconocidos, como asimismo incluye el derecho a ser amados por al menos alguien en la vida.

A partir de un análisis ligero, Frankenstein trata la venganza y el abandono. Son las dos cuestiones principales que hacen esta historia una historia con movimiento. La venganza desde el arrebato y la venganza desde el rechazo. También cabe destacar que es admirable la caracterización del Creador y su Criatura, y sus interminables pugnas por quién posee la más dañina amenaza; ya que, si lo vemos de esa forma, y teniendo en cuenta la completa implicación de las circunstancias en la novela, ¿qué es más nocivo, el rechazo injustificado o el asesinato como consecuencia de una iniquidad anterior?

La denominada Criatura, Demonio, Engendro o Monstruo es de los personajes más humanos con los que me he topado. Es suntuosa la carga emotiva, el abigarramiento en el interior de un ser que fue engendrado por ciencia mal utilizada. Un vínculo irónico entre un hombre que quería ser dios y un ser que siempre quiso ser hombre. Para mí esta es la crítica más punzante de Mary Shelley. Repudia que nos dejemos llevar por las apariencias en vez de detenernos a pensar en lo que estamos haciendo. La egolatría, la soberbia y el prejuicio son lo más lamentable de nuestra conducta como humanidad, y esas condiciones danzaron alrededor del llamado Monstruo y acabaron destruyendo la bondad más pura, que, prácticamente, ni había llegado a florecer.

No voy a omitir la prosa, que acompaña a la perfección la calidad de este libro. No hay mejor pluma que la que te abraza y te lleva consigo en un viaje por el tiempo y el espacio hacia su historia. Mientras leía Frankenstein, me sentía allí, junto a Víctor y a su Criatura, percibía la realidad que me rodeaba como falsa, como un pobre bosquejo de lo que estaba leyendo, y creía que mi pertenencia radicaba en el siglo XVII. La ambientación de Shelley es tan estupenda que fue capaz de sobrepasar los límites de la narrativa e invadir el mundo real. Excelente trabajo de la autora. Su estilo de escritura es de los puntos más fuertes del texto.

Frankenstein se ha transformado en una de mis obras favoritas. Su retrato de la soledad, el aislamiento forzado, la pérdida y la derrota es sublime. Un relato que se construye sobre lo emocional y que tiene sus raíces en lo más hondo del alma humana.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews45 followers
August 18, 2021
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley

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 grotesque, 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 France in 1823.

Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.

Frankenstein is a frame story written in epistolary form.

It documents a fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville.

Robert Walton is a failed writer who sets out to explore the North Pole in hopes of expanding scientific knowledge.

During the voyage, the crew spots a dog sled driven by a gigantic figure.

A few hours later, the crew rescues a nearly frozen and emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been in pursuit of the gigantic man observed by Walton's crew.

Frankenstein starts to recover from his exertion; he sees in Walton the same obsession that has destroyed him and recounts a story of his life's miseries to Walton as a warning.

The recounted story serves as the frame for Frankenstein's narrative. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه دسامبر سال 1995میلادی؛ تاریخ خوانش دوم: روز نوزدهم نوامیر سال 2011میلادی

عنوان: فرانکشتاین؛ مری شلی؛ مترجم: جعفر مدرس صادقی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1374؛ متن کوتاه شده در 224ص؛ شابک 9643051064؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 19م

مترجم: محسن سلیمانی؛ تهران؛ قدیانی، چاپ چهارم 1392؛ در 326ص؛ شابک 9789645366184؛

عنوان: فرانکنشتاین یا پرومته نوین؛ نویسنده: مری شلی؛ مترجم: کاظم فیروزمند؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، چاپ دوم 1389؛ در 262ص؛ شابک 9789642131037؛

فرانکنشتاین، دانشمند جوانی جاه‌ طلب، و جویای نام است، که جانوری زنده، به شکل انسان، و با ابعاد کمی بزرگ‌تر از یک آدم معمولی، و با ریخت و قیافه‌ ای زشت، و مخوف می‌سازد؛ که همه، از جمله سازنده‌ اش، از دست او، و شرارت‌هایش می‌گریزند؛ اما به تدریج خود آن هیولا، به «فرانکنشتاین» نامدار شده، و این نام، اسم عامی شده، برای آفریده های ویرانگری که از اختیار آفرینشگر خویش نیز، خارج میشوند، و حتی آفریننده نیز، توان مهار نیروی ویرانگر آنها را ندارد؛ «مری شلی»، نویسنده‌ ی این اثر، همسر «شلی»، شاعر بزرگ رمانتیک «بریتانیایی» بودند، و رمان‌های دیگری نیز بنوشته اند، اما تنها همین اثر ایشان بود، که شهرت ماندگار و جهانگیر یافت؛

رمانها: «فرانکنشتاین (1818میلادی)»؛ «ماتیلدا (1819 میلادی) - رمان کوتاه»؛ «آخرین نفر (1826میلادی) - در یک سه‌ گانه ی داستانی علمی-تخیلی را روایت می‌کند: سده ی بیست و یکم میلادی است، بیماری طاعون نسل بشر را از بین برده و تنها یک نفر باقی مانده‌ است، آخرین نفر»؛ «والپرگا (1823میلادی) - ماجرایی از زندگی در ایتالیای سده های میانی میلادی را نقل می‌کند»؛ «بخت و اقبال پرکین واربِک (1830میلادی)»؛ «لادور (1835میلادی) - همچنین با عنوان (بیوه زیبا) نیز شناخته می‌شود»؛ «فالکنر (1837 میلادی)؛

داستانهای کوتاه: «یادبود»؛ «سفرنامه»؛ «تاریخ شش هفته ‌ای»؛ «وقایع بزرگ و فوق‌العاده»؛ «ولگردی در آلمان و ایتالیا در سال‌های 1840میلادی، 1842میلادی و 1843میلادی»؛

شرح حال: شرح زندگانی برجسته ‌ترین ادبا و علما، و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Matt.
937 reviews28.6k followers
September 22, 2023
“It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs…”
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Frankenstein is a marvelous example of a book that escaped from its author and took on an entirely new existence beyond the boundaries of the page. There is an elegant symmetry to this. After all, the novel concerns a “monster” or “daemon” that slips away from its creator, the scientist Victor Frankenstein, to cause havoc in the world.

Today, when we think of Frankenstein – or more accurately, about scientist Victor Frankenstein’s never-named creature – we are likely imagining something other than the somewhat vaguely-described human-ish thing in Mary Shelley’s 1818 horror classic. Unmoored from its literary roots, the Frankenstein’s monster we call forth in our minds is probably closer in conception to Boris Karloff’s famous version from the 1930s: square-headed and scarred, with metal bolts in the neck. This is a visage that is ubiquitous every October, found in movies, on television, and selling Halloween candy.

Part of the fun of reading Frankenstein is to see how far this cobbled-together man has traveled from Shelley’s original iteration. Frankly, this was probably the only fun I had, as Frankenstein, for all its bursts of creativity, its sudden flashes of discrete violence, is a bit of a wordy drag. It is fully a piece from the Romantic era, from the overwrought emotional excesses of its characters, to the gorgeous, travelogue-like descriptions of the Alps.


According to Shelley – in an 1831 forward to the revised text – Frankenstein had its genesis in a spontaneous parlor game between famed wordsmiths, of which she took part. Only eighteen at the time, Shelley was vacationing in Lake Geneva with her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the famous Lord Byron. Byron apparently suggested they each write a ghost story, since the weather was too lousy to do much else. Mary Shelley’s contribution, according to this lore, was Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The short story she began in a cold and dispiriting Switzerland eventually became a full-length novel that is currently enjoying a two-hundred year afterlife.


As an aside, Shelley’s life, and her relationship with the doomed Percy, is worth exploring. There is free love, unfounded suggestions that Percy penned Frankenstein, and tragedy aplenty.


Frankenstein utilizes an epistolary framing device, both beginning and ending with a series of “letters” from an adventurous mariner to his sister. Initially, I was entirely uncertain what these missives had to do with Frankenstein and his monster. As a result, the novel started extremely slow for me, as I found myself reading only a couple pages at a time before losing interest, never really finding the hook. Ultimately – as you can see – I pushed through, but it was only much later, when the letters reappear at the end, that everything clicked into place (and I went back and reread the opening gambit).

Once this prelude is out of the way, we begin the main part of the narrative, which is told in the first-person by the emotionally labile Frankenstein. For reasons put down to obsession, young Frankenstein is preoccupied with creating new life. Working alone and in fanatical devotion to his goal, Frankenstein begins assembling his thing:

I collected bones from charnel-houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation: my eye-balls were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughterhouse furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.

It does not – should not – spoil anything to say that Frankenstein is successful in his endeavors, at least up to a point.


The monster or creature or daemon or whatever you’d like to call it – just don’t call it Frankenstein – comes to life and immediately begins to torment Victor. Unlike the shambling, slow-moving, slow-witted monster of modern pop culture, Shelley’s creature moves faster than the zombies in 28 Days Later, climbs mountains like Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger, and is an exceptionally advanced autodidact, not only teaching himself to speak, but to read Paradise Lost and Plutarch’s Lives.

Frankenstein and his monster engage in a globetrotting game of cat-and-mouse, which might have been exciting, if not written in the overly formal, cluttered style of the early nineteenth century. Shelley tells this story broadly, seldom taking any time to build a scene, ratchet up suspense, or pay off a plot arc. Instead, through the excitable, often operatically frantic voice of Frankenstein, we are given broad characters (Elizabeth, for instance, seems to be a forerunner of Dickens’s saintly – and boring – Esther Summerson), unexciting action, and pointedly telegraphed plot points. It says something that the high point of Frankenstein is a story-within-a-story (in true Conradian fashion) told by the monster itself.

Honestly, I have a predisposition against books written in the archaic-feeling style of Frankenstein. It is something I always thought I’d grow out of as I aged. Alas, it has been two decades since high school, and my bias against writers who use thee and thy still abides.

That is not to say I recommend skipping this novel, because I don’t. I also did not hate it, not by any means. The story works better in summary than in execution, and it requires close attention, but it is a genuine triumph of imagination. It is also far more polished and thematically coherent than Bram Stoker’s later attempt at Gothic horror (which has also turned out to be undying).


Certain books have meanings beyond the composition of sentences and the contours of a storyline. Shelley created something in Frankenstein that has endured for a couple centuries, and will likely live on forever, as long as people read. For that reason – if not only for that reason – this classic example of a thinking person’s horror novel is worth checking out.
Profile Image for Warwick.
845 reviews14.6k followers
August 29, 2015
I have a favourite Kate Beaton strip framed up in our book room:

(Full-size image here.)

Mary was – what? – eighteen years old when she went on this famous holiday to Lake Geneva with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Byron and Byron's physician. She was calling herself ‘Mrs Shelley’, though they had not yet married – Percy was still married to someone else.

The surroundings were familiar. The last time Mary and Percy had come to Switzerland had been during their elopement a couple of years earlier, accompanied by her sister, who was also in love with him; Mary had got pregnant, but the baby girl was born prematurely and died in February 1815. Now they were back, trying to put the past behind them and enjoy a holiday with Byron, who at the time was sleeping with Mary's stepsister. Percy's first wife would soon be out of the picture, found drowned in the Serpentine in an ‘advanced state of pregnancy’ before the year was out. Mary's other sister Fanny also drowned herself that year, 1816, also pining for Percy.

So it was in the midst of this complex love-dodecahedron that the holidaymakers, their festive plans foiled by constant rain, held their famous competition to write a ghost story. The result is something very different from its image in popular culture. Instead of the smoke of Victorian London, we have the Swiss Alps and the Orkney Islands; instead of Igor and bolts through the neck, we have meditations on personal autonomy, scientific responsibility and eugenics.

Frankenstein is overwritten and the narrative structure is a bit odd – she was still a teenager when she wrote it, let's not forget – but thematically, it's fascinating. I'm surprised by how few reviews I've read touch on what seems to me to be the intensely female experiences that it obliquely comments on. The confusion of bringing a creature into the world only to feel horror and revulsion towards it. The stress of releasing it into a hostile and uncaring world. And perhaps most of all, the deep sympathy shown with someone who feels that their body is not their own, that it is somehow owned and regulated by others. A body that one is taught by society to hate. The monster's feelings are unimportant, because he was created by a man for the man's own gratification.

Mary quotes her beloved Percy Bysshe Shelley, unattributively, when Dr Frankenstein first spots his creature up on the Mer de Glace. She uses the final two stanzas from ‘Mutability’. For me though it's the beautiful first stanza that better expresses the ferocious intensity of Mary and her circle of friends and lovers, surrounded as they all seemed to be by imminent, premature death:

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
    How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!—yet soon
    Night closes round, and they are lost forever…

As they all were. But the writing they left behind will last as long as English literature is read, and for all of its problems Frankenstein is among that select group.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.5k followers
February 18, 2020
Didn't manage to finish it during my "One Week, One Shelf" reading Classics but I'll need to soon.

The writing is beautiful, the audiobook is good but damn the part where the monster tells you his life is boooooring!

Update: The Creature/Monster's section got a bit better but overall the book wasn't to my taste.
October 29, 2018
¡Qué daño ha hecho el cine a este libro!
El ansia del hombre de ser Dios llevó a Víctor Frankenstein a crear un ser, un ser con apariencia humana de restos de humanos, tan deforme que resultó ser un monstruo en su exterior, pero no en su interior, humano dotado de sentimientos, sensibilidad, que lo que más ansiaba era no estar solo, una compañera con quien compartir su vida y el amor. Ante la negativa de su creador de crear otro "monstruo", el monstruo se vengó.
Novela de personajes, que en un momento dado no sé si quién me daba más pena si el creado o el creador, ambos arrepentidos de distintos actos.
Fantásticos los personajes secundarios, tanto la familia de Víctor como la familia con la que aprende su criatura o el capitán del barco.
La ambientación gótica le dota a la novela de escenas terroríficas, cuando la criatura cobra vida, cuando huye herido tras haber salvado la vida de una niña que se ahogaba...
En cierto momento me ha recordado a "los miserables" ¿quién es más miserable? ¿quién es así por su propia naturaleza o quién por las circunstancias acaba así?
¿Las circunstancias que te rodean sirven de excusa para realizar esos atroces actos?
Ambos parecen las dos caras de una misma moneda o al menos eso me parece a mí.
No tengo un personaje favorito, son todos, y lo que más me ha gustado es la narración es casi como una novela epistolar, a veces sientes una narración pausada, tranquila, con matices que parecen versos con tintes oscuros y góticos
Trata temas como los límites de la ciencia y la ética, la responsabilidad, la soledad, el amor, el egoísmo..., con muchos matices y muchas lecturas.
Un libro muy recomendable.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,948 reviews616 followers
March 25, 2023
Sometimes literature stands for little. The Tambora volcano eruption in 1815 completely changed Europe's climate, particularly between 1816 and 1817. It led to almost glacial periods in the Alps. Around this time, friends Shelley and Byron traveled around Switzerland on vacation. The lousy weather obliges them to often remain secluded in their chalet, with, like a favorite pastime, to invent extraordinary stories. During one of these evenings, it would be born, from the imagination of Mary Shelley, the character of Frankenstein and his creature - feeding on romantic, gothic, and fantastic literature, with the scientific spirit in vogue at the time of the early 19th century. It remained to polish the plot with the help of Percy Shelley. He then relayed by cinema and the high physics of Boris Karloff. And this is how a myth is born!
What remains today of good literary work? The plot is very moralizing. Like Prometheus, can a man play the Demiurge? The good feelings, the good, and the bad repeated to excess weigh down the story. Too many lengths on existential themes end up harming the action. From my point of view, this romanticism no longer passes for today's reader.
Following the protagonists' wanderings, there remains a glimpse of Europe during the pivotal period between the 18th and 19th centuries, harmonious and fascinating descriptions of majestic landscapes, and a plot that retains an individual interest despite everything.
To read to immerse yourself in the times.
Profile Image for Fernando.
685 reviews1,127 followers
December 5, 2022
“-¡Fuera de aquí! Rompo mi promesa. Jamás volveré a crear otro ser como tú, con tu misma deformidad y tus maldades.
-Quise razonar contigo, pero has demostrado que no quieres. Recuerda que soy yo quien tiene el poder. Te consideras desgraciado, pero piensa que sólo yo puedo hacerte tan desdichado que la luz del día te resultará odiosa. Tú eres mi creador, pero yo soy tu dueño. ¡Obedece! Ten cuidado porque a nada temo, y eso me convierte en poderoso.”

Fue en abril, durante el verano del año 1816 en Villa Diodati, una localidad Ginebra que el más famoso y más romántico de los Románticos, el poeta inglés, Lord Byron, organizó un desafío literario para escribir el cuento más terrorífico que se les ocurriera, junto a su médico personal, John Polidori, el célebre poeta inglés Percy Bysshe Shelley y su amante, Mary Goodwin, quien más tarde se convertiría en su esposa y con nuevo apellido le daría chispa a la vida de la criatura más emblemática, conocida y arquetípica en la historia de la literatura: el monstruo creado por el científico Víctor Frankenstein.
Los relatos de Byron, “El entierro”, y de Percy Shelley “Los asesinos”, están inacabados y por ende, es imposible saber cuál podría haber sido su final.
El mejor relato de todos es del de John Polidori, “El vampiro”, que es el disparador de lo que en la actualidad conoceríamos a través de Bram Stoker con “Drácula”, y esto se debe a que "El vampiro" anticipa a la inmortal novela de Stoker 56 años antes de su publicación.
Pero sería Mary Shelley quien al final terminaría ganando y todo surge a partir de un extraño y profético sueño que tuvo en ese castillo, luego de leer entre todos distintos cuentos de los más afamados escritores alemanes, siendo E.T.A. Hoffmann el referente más importante.
A la mañana siguiente, cuando despertó les contó lo que soñó: “Vi a un pálido estudiante de arte impías, de rodillas junto al ser que había ensamblado. Vi el horrendo fantasma de un hombre que estaba tendido, y luego, por obra de algún ingenio poderoso, manifestaba signos de vida y se agitaba con movimiento torpe y semivital…”
La escena nos lleva directamente al momento en el que Víctor Frankenstein, en esa tormentosa noche demencial, casi de la misma manera que en el cuento “El sueño” que la autora escribiera dos años antes, exclama que si criatura está viva: "Era ya la una de la noche. Una lluvia lúgubre golpeaba los cristales y la vela estaba a punto de apagarse cuando, iluminado por el resplandor de la luz casi consumida, vi que el ojo amarillento y mortecino de la criatura se abría; respiró con dificultad y agitó sus miembros con un movimiento convulso."
Increíblemente y como si fuera una trágica maniobra del destino, ese encuentro tendría un final funesto: en 1821 John Polidori se suicidaría pero le sobrevivirá su inmortal cuento y Percy Bysshe Shelley moriría ahogado a orillas del lago Leman, dos meses después y de todo ese dolor surgiría esta obra inmortal llamada “Frankenstein, o el moderno Prometeo” que Mary Shelley escribiría con tan sólo dieciocho años.”
Pero esto no es todo. Existe un dato que no muchos conocen acerca de Mary Shelley: cuando el cuerpo de Percy Bysshe Shelley es llevado ante ella, pide que le saquen el corazón, dado que cuando Shelley es cremado su corazón, por razones completamente inexplicables, ¡no se quemó!
Ante esta señal, ella pidió que lo envolvieran en hojas de sus propios poemas, lo pusieran en un estuche y lo colocaran en su ataúd cuando ella misma falleciera y de esta manera, cuando esto sucedió, la enterraron junto con el corazón de su amado.
Más Romanticismo que eso, imposible.
Poco queda por agregar acerca de Frankenstein que no se haya escrito ya a estas alturas.
La novela es y será una de las más representativas del Romanticismo. Contiene muchos elementos de este movimiento: desde la dualidad Víctor/Monstruo, que en cierta manera es una forma de temática del doble, el sufrimiento del que sabe que va a perder (en ambos casos), el titanismo romántico claramente expuesto en la obra, el juego peligroso con la ciencia (El extraño Caso del Dr. Jekyll y Mr. Hyde de Robert Louis Stevenson es otro caso y posteriormente lo será también “La isla del doctor Moreau” de H.G. Wells ) y la referencia de Prometeo (de allí el subtítulo de la misma), ese semi dios condenado al que hace referencia, inmortalizarán esta obra.
La obra posee tres narradores bien diferenciados. En primer lugar leemos las cartas del capitán Walton quien nos presenta la historia de cómo encuentra al doctor Víctor Frankenstein en medio del lugar más congelado del Polo Norte.
Posteriormente, todos los sucesos que Frankenstein le cuenta a Walton, desde cómo es su niñez hasta la creación del horrendo monstruo y lo que sucede después ante la negativa suya de crearle una compañera y por último es el turno de la criatura quien le cuenta a Frankenstein todas las vicisitudes que tuvo que pasar hasta que encuentra nuevamente a su creador.
Cuando uno cree que es terrible lo que lee acerca de lo que sufre Víctor Frankenstein, se queda sin palabras al enterarse de las miserias e injusticias que la criatura debe sobrellevar para no sucumbir.
Es extremadamente bella y a la vez terrible la manera en que la autora nos acerca ambas historias, ya que logra conmovernos en ambos casos, a punto tal que no sabemos cómo lectores a quién apoyar.
El encuentro entre ambos y lo que surge de ello es épico y no existe otro adjetivo para describir tanta perfección.
Los diálogos son poderosos, las escenas subyugantes y el argumento está construido sin fallas para todo se vaya ensamblando con el correr de la lectura.
La novela es cerrada magistralmente cuando los tres, Walton, Frankenstein y la criatura se encuentran y le ponen fin a este drama tan intenso, tan único, tan descollante.
Es algo verdaderamente espeluznante tratar de entender cómo pudo Mary Shelley, esta adolescente de dieciocho años en el siglo XIX, crear algo tan inolvidable y terrible.
Más de un estudioso de las letras se lo sigue preguntando.
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 9 books16.3k followers
August 24, 2021

في بدايات القرن التاسع عشر
‏كانت الكهرباء وقتها اختراعا طازجا
وحدثا يلقي الرهبة في القلوب

لقد كان معظم الناس يتصور أنها تحمل قدرات خارقة‏
ولذلك لم يكن من الصعب تخيل أنها يمكنها إعادة الحياة إلى ‏الموتى

فقد كانوا يرونها اختراعا شيطانيا يثير غضب الرب

وأثناء جلسة جمعت بين بعض الشعراء والكتاب في قصر الشاعر لورد بايرن
اقترح المضيف أن يؤلف كل واحد منهم قصة رعب ‏مختلفة
لتزجية الوقت

ومن هنا جاءت إحدى أشهر قصص الرعب الكلاسيكية على مر ‏العصور


الحكاية عن شاب مخترع يدعى فيكتور فرانكنشتاين‏
قام بتجميع أجزاء من جثث الموتى ‏
وباستخدام الصواعق الكهربية سواها كائنا حيا‏
يتنفس ويعيش ويحزن ويفرح ويحلم

ولما انتهى منه خالقه لم ير فيه سوى مسخا بشعا ‏
فتركه وحيدا وهجره
مسخ ضخم ملامحه جامدة تملأ القطب وجهه وجسده ‏
وكأنه دمية كل جزء فيها مخيط إلى الآخر

يملؤه الخجل لهيئته الغريبة المنفرة‏
يحمل عذاباته ويمضي

يتوارى في أي مكان مهجور لا يعرف طريقه النور ‏
بعيدا عن أعين البشر الفضولية والقاسية

‏ كائن مسكين لا يعلم السبب الذي جاء به إلى هذه الدنيا
التي لا تتقبله
ولما لا يعطف عليه أحد
حتى وإن كان خالقه نفسه

وصار المسخ منبوذا دون ان يفهم لهذه القسوة سببا
ومع الوقت تعتمل بداخله مشاعر الغضب
لتحل محل أي تساؤل حزين عبر أسلاك عقله
ويبدأ بعدها في الانتقام

أبدا لم يتخيل فرانكنشتاين‏ أن ذلك المسخ الذي خلقه بيديه
سيحيل حياته جحيما ‏
وبأنه سيكون السبب في موت أعز الناس على قلبه ‏

فعندما يستهوي الانسان مناطحة الآلهة
هذا هو ما يحصل عليه
خراب وحياة مشوهة
وعذاب لم نكن لنتخيله

نحن أكثر ضعفا من تحمل مسئولية بهذه الجسامة‏
ولذلك فإننا ببساطة ..ننهار


هناك فارق عظيم بين فرانكنشتاين السينما وفرانكنشتاين الرواية‏
ففي السينما أضفت هوليود عليها سذاجة منقطعة النظير
وجعلتها مادة لأفلام لا نراها الآن سوى كوميديا فارس سخيفة ‏أحيانا ومضحكة أحيانا أخرى
خصوصا مع عروس فرانكنشتاين الطريفة للغاية

كما أن فرانكنشتاين هو الاسم الذي أطلقته السينما على المسخ
في حين أنه يعود في الرواية إلى المخترع


من هو فرانكنشتاين الحقيقي؟
وكيف نبتت فكرته في عقل ماري الصغيرة؟

‏1-في الأصل كان لقبا لعائلة ألمانية نبيلة اشتهرت بقلعتها القديمة ‏بالقرب من بلدة دارمشتات في ألمانيا ‏

ولكن الأمر لا يتوقف عند هذا الحد
ففي هذه القلعة ولد وعاش "عالم" غريب الأطوار يدعى يوهان ‏كونراد ديبيل ‏
ولكن إمضاءه كان يوهان كونراد دي فرانكنشتاين ‏

المهم أنه اشتهر بجنونه وغرابة أطواره
حتى أنه ادعى النبوة في وقت ما ‏
وادعى اختراعه لإكسير الحياة الذي أنه يطيل العمر ويجدد الشباب‏
حسنا لم يكن الوحيد

ولكن المختلف مع هذا اليوهان هو أنه كانت له تجارب‏
يحاول فيها إعادة الحياة لجثث الموتى عن طريق الكهرباء ‏
وقد سبب رعبا وذعرا لا حد له لأهل بلدته
ويقال إنه نجح في صناعة كف بشرية بإمكانها التحرك من تلقاء ‏نفسها

‏2-في عام 1780 قام العالم جالفاني بتجارب مرر خلالها تيارات ‏كهربية في أجساد ضفادع ميتة ‏
فلاحظ ارتجافا في أطرافها عند صعقها بالكهرباء

بعدها بسنوات قام عالم آخر يدعي جيوفاني إلديني ‏
بتجربة مرعبة

في إحدى ساحات لندن العامة ‏
قام بتوثيق جثة مجرم أعدم شنقا بالأسلاك الكهربية
‏-يعني باعتباره يصلح كفأر تجارب في نظرهم
بعدا قام بتمرير تيارا كهربيا قويا
ووسط صرخات الرعب وشهقات الدهشة
تغيرت ملامح الجثة وكأنها تتألم
حتى يقال بأنها فتحت عينيها ‏
ومع ارتعاشات الجثة أغشى على بعض الحضور ظنا منهم بأنها ‏ستعود فعلا إلى الحياة‏

وذلك كله عائد إلى الجهل وقتها بسلوك المواد والأجسام
التي يمر خلالها ‏التيار الكهربي ‏

هكذا تبلورت الفكرة لدى ماري شيللي زوجة الشاعر الأشهر

وهكذا ولدت رواية خالدة في الأدب
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