Frankenstein is, arguably, one of the most iconic novels in English literature. With its powerful, unsettling plot, isolated characters, and the wretched creature at its center, it has become part of the Western cultural fabric. Mary Shelley reminds us that the error of the scientist can have dreadful consequences if the rest of society proves to be irresponsible. Frankenstein’s one sin is a sin of omission, rather than a sin of commission: he fails to accept the responsibilities of his creativity, and for this he is punished. But the real villain of the work is mankind, the social animal that blindly abuses his tools.
Frankenstein is read today in two slightly different versions: the first edition of 1818, written by a very young Mary Shelley; and the edition of 1831, in which irreversible fate is more powerful than human free will. Other minor differences between the two texts originate in yet another 1823 version. This edition preferences the 1818 original text, which is more useful for students of British Romanticism. However, corrections from 1823 that the novelist chose to preserve in 1831 have been incorporated in the hope of doing justice to the young Mary Shelley without entirely disregarding the wishes of the mature author.
The introduction to this critical edition guides the reader through the themes and aspects of the novel and highlights their importance for today's reader. Annotations help explain and inform the reading. The quality of the book and the legibility of the font, both in the text and in the footnotes, enhance the reading experience.
Ideal for AP English classes and for junior college and first year university students.
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