(Note: this review is for publisher Simon & Schuster's "enriched classic" edition of this book)
"Published [anonymously] in 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus" is a model for Gothic fiction, science fiction, and all the horror novels that followed it. Weaving the Gothic elements of the supernatural, terror, anguish, and love with the Romantic values of nature and individualism, Shelley delivers a chilling tale about unchecked ambition and the consequences of disturbing the order of nature. Generations of scientists, ethicists, psychologists, feminists, and artists have been inspired and riveted by Mary Shelley's dark story."
The above comes from the supplementary (or enriched) materials found in this book that contains the "complete and unabridged" enduring classic novel by Mary Shelley (1797 to 1851).
The structure of this book has front supplementary material (a superb introduction, chronology of Shelley's life and works, and an important historical context of the novel) and back supplementary material (very important notes or glossary, interpretive notes which includes an overview of key themes in the novel, excerpts from critics of the novel, discussion questions, and a suggested book and film list). Sandwiched between this front and back supplementary material is the unforgettable novel itself.
This is not mentioned in the table of contents but the novel in this book is flanked by a preface (written by Shelley's husband who drowned in 1822) and an introduction to the edited third edition of this novel (written by Shelley herself in 1831).
Thus, the structure of this book with no detail is as follows:
Front supplementary material, preface, the novel proper, introduction, back supplementary material.
On the back cover of this book it has the phrase "enduring literature illuminated by practical scholarship." You'll have to read the novel to find out exactly why it has endured since 1818. What I can say is that the novel is "a timeless, terrifying tale of one man's obsession to create life--and the monster that became his legacy." (By the way, the Frankenstein movies that you may have seen bear little resemblance to the actual novel.) It is the concise supplementary material that is the practical scholarship which illuminates this novel.
This book is part of the "Enriched Classics" series which has good, helpful supplementary material. This series includes such titles as "Wuthering Heights," "Great Expectations," and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Finally, there were only two things that irritated me with respect to this particular book:
(1) On the cover page it states that the "supplemental material [is] written by Margaret Brantley." Who's Margaret Brantley? We're never told.
(2) We're not explicitly told the edition of the novel that's in this book. (Through doing my own research, it seems it is the original 1818 edition.)
In conclusion, this is truly a great work of literature that, as a bonus, is enhanced with helpful notes and insightful commentary. I guarantee that after reading this book, you will know the REAL story of "Frankenstein!"
(published 2009; supplementary materials published 2004; novel first published 1818; introduction; chronology of Mary Shelly's life and work; historical context of "Frankenstein;" preface; the novel "Frankenstein;" Mary Shelley on her novel; notes; interpretive notes; critical excepts; questions for discussion; suggestions for the interested reader; 350 pages)
(novel "Frankenstein" in 3 parts or 23 chapters; novel 270 pages)
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>