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5.0 out of 5 stars Do you know the REAL story of "Frankenstein??"
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(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,...
Published 14 months ago by Stephen Pletko

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "cursed, cursed creator."
Victor grew up reading the works of Paracelsus, Agrippa, and Albertus Magnus, the alchemists of the time. Toss in a little natural philosophy (sciences) and you have the making of a monster. Or at least a being that after being spurned for looking ugly becomes ugly. So for revenge the creature decides unless Victor makes another (female this time) creature, that Victor...
Published on Nov. 4 2006 by bernie


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5.0 out of 5 stars Do you know the REAL story of "Frankenstein??", May 11 2013
By 
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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(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 the novel; 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 4 letters and 3 parts or 23 chapters; 270 pages)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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5.0 out of 5 stars misunderstood monstrosity, July 2 2004
By 
I ain't no porn writer (author, "Crippled Dreams") - See all my reviews
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Mary Shelley, her husband the poet Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and his physician Doctor Polidori were staying at Byron's country villa. It was a stormy night of orgies, opium, and ghost stories. The men also liked to discuss the theory of galvanism--scientifically bringing a dead body back to life. It was this that gave Mary Shelley the central idea for her main character, a creature created and brought to life by a mad science. And it was out of these nightmare-inducing, drug-induced, spine-chilling elements that Mary Shelley was struck with the idea to write her masterpiece about Frankenstein, a misunderstood and persecuted but otherwise good and gentle "noble savage" and freak creation of science. This book will teach you a thing or two about how people treat the outsider, and about how it's important to judge people from the inside, not the outside.
David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough look at Mary Shelley's original work., May 2 2004
By 
T. West "English Grad." (Central Indiana) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
This Norton Critical Edition makes an excellent value in literature. If you are a student of literature, this volume will help you gain a thorough knowledge of Mary Shelley's original text (lots of context and critical essays included), as well as editions that followed. It contains her original preface (supposedly much influenced by Percy) as well as her 1830 preface. If you do not know, Mary's monster is not the monster one finds in the movies, nor is Dr. Frankenstein. Further, if you have not read an edition other than the first, you don't know about the incest issue that is in the first edition, but not later editions. As you will find in reviews below, this is not a flawless novel, but it is a must read for any well-read person. What is rarely discussed is the influence of John Locke, whose Essay Concerning Human Understanding Mary Shelley read closely just prior to writing the novel. The influence of his work on hers is substantial. Read in the light of Romanticism's reaction to the Enlightenment and Locke et al gives one a completely different perspective for understanding the work. I think you'll find Mary's philosophy appropriately and interestingly feminine, without being feminist; another surprise, considering her lineage. Definitely a good read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars "cursed, cursed creator.", Nov. 4 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Victor grew up reading the works of Paracelsus, Agrippa, and Albertus Magnus, the alchemists of the time. Toss in a little natural philosophy (sciences) and you have the making of a monster. Or at least a being that after being spurned for looking ugly becomes ugly. So for revenge the creature decides unless Victor makes another (female this time) creature, that Victor will also suffer the loss of friends and relatives. What is victor to do? Bow to the wishes and needs of his creation? Or challenge it to the death? What would you do?

Although the concept of the monster is good, and the conflicts of the story well thought out, Shelly suffers from the writing style of the time. Many people do not finish the book as the language is stilted and verbose for example when was the last time you said, "Little did I then expect the calamity that was in a few moments to overwhelm me and extinguish in horror and despair all fear of ignominy of death."

Much of the book seems like travel log filler. More time describing the surroundings of Europe than the reason for traveling or just traveling. Many writers use traveling to reflect time passing or the character growing in stature or knowledge. In this story they just travel a lot.

This book is definitely worth plodding through for moviegoers. The record needs to be set strait. First shock is that the creator is named Victor Frankenstein; the creature is just "monster" not Frankenstein. And it is Victor that is backwards which added in him doing the impossible by not knowing any better. The monster is well read in "Sorrows of a Young Werther," "Paradise Lost," and Plutarch's "Lives." The debate (mixed with a few murders) rages on as to whether the monster was doing evil because of his nature or because he was spurned?
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Cursed, cursed creator.", Dec 5 2004
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Victor grew up reading the works of Paracelsus, Agrippa, and Albertus Magnus, the alchemists of the time. Toss in a little natural philosophy (sciences) and you have the making of a monster. Or at least a being that after being spurned for looking ugly becomes ugly. So for revenge the creature decides unless Victor makes another (female this time) creature, that Victor will also suffer the loss of friends and relatives. What is victor to do? Bow to the wishes and needs of his creation? Or challenge it to the death? What would you do?

Although the concept of the monster is good, and the conflicts of the story well thought out, Shelly suffers from the writing style of the time. Many people do not finish the book as the language is stilted and verbose for example when was the last time you said, "Little did I then expect the calamity that was in a few moments to overwhelm me and extinguish in horror and despair all fear of ignominy of death."

Much of the book seems like travel log filler. More time describing the surroundings of Europe than the reason for traveling or just traveling. Many writers use traveling to reflect time passing or the character growing in stature or knowledge. In this story they just travel a lot.

This book is definitely worth plodding through for moviegoers. The record needs to be set strait. First shock is that the creator is named Victor Frankenstein; the creature is just "monster" not Frankenstein. And it is Victor that is backwards which added in him doing the impossible by not knowing any better. The monster is well read in "Sorrows of a Young Werther," "Paradise Lost," and Plutarch's "Lives." The debate (mixed with a few murders) rages on as to whether the monster was doing evil because of his nature or because he was spurned?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein: A Norton Critical Edicition, March 19 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
This book is based on the original 1818 version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but is geared toward the reader who wants a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of this work of fiction and the writings of Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and Dr. John William Polidori, Byron's friend. The reader will find abundant annotations which help to explain the context in which it was written. A map is provided which helps to locate many of the settings described in the book. It also includes a section of reactions to various versions that have been published. Twelve contemporary authors have submitted essays which supply a variety of perspectives on Frankenstein. The book offers an authoritative text, contextual and source materials, and a wide range of interpretations in addition to a bibliography of other works on the topics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not What You Think!, Feb. 6 2003
By 
Dana Keish (Ohio, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
If you think you know Frankenstein because you have seen the classic 1930's Hollywood movie, then you really don't know Frankenstein. The short novel upon which the movie is loosely based (so loosely as to be almost a different story)is a morality tale on the creation of life and the obligations of the creator and the created. Mary Shelley was only twenty when she wrote the novel, begun when a house party attended by the poet Byron and Shelley's husband, the poet Percy Shelley decided to swap "ghost" stories one evening. Only Mary Shelley completed her story and this is the 1818 text presented in this book.
One main objection I have about this book (and the only reason that kept it from getting 5 stars) is basically the plot itself. If you think that a tight plausible plot is needed, then this is not the book for you. There are too many holes and too many times I found myself asking, Why would the character do this? But if you read for language and philosophical thought, then Frankenstein is a perfect short read. The monster is very erudite and able to express his emotions perfectly. Why was he created and how can he endure if all he receives is the scorn and hatred of those around him? What is the obligation of the creator-to please his creation or keep him from doing harm to others? This is the true core of the story and the contrasting feelings between Victor Frankenstein, the creator and the monster fill the pages.
While not a difficult read, it is one that is totally unexpected if you have no prior knowledge of the novel's difference with the movie. While the movie is rightfully a classic, the book delves more into the spiritual and emotional realms of creation and its affect on all. I would highly recommend this book for those who are intrigued by the beauty of language and thought. J
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian Gem, May 1 2002
What exactly gives a novel, written by a twenty-year-old European girl from the Victorian era, the wings of literary longevity needed to carry it across two centuries and the Atlantic Ocean? How has it been able to propagate itself across contemporary American Culture in such a way that it can be found on any given day everywhere from cartoons-that big orange thing with tennis shoes chasing bugs bunny through a castle-to upper division university literature seminars? Well, it IS a monster story, but that doesn't explain it. It is pretty well written, for having a young author, but only in the Romantic tradition, with all of the attendant thickly written melodrama and blubbery prose-think Anne Rice without the Prozac or sex. So Shelley's literary talents don't really explain it either. It does sort of begin the mad-scientist routine that we 'modern' folks love so much, which picked up some real momentum with the publication of Stevenson's 'Jekyll and Hyde'. I suspect that partially accounts for some of its continuing appeal to the adult reader and movie-goer. Shelley did spend a great deal of energy ruminating on the possible moral and ethical implications of messing around with the natural order of things. She let the good doctor cross that line and mess around with some taboo stuff, the defeat of death and all of that. And her commentary on the matter is clear: good old-fashioned Romantic fear. The monster really lets him have it. I won't go into it, I don't want to give away any of the story. Now we're beginning to understand some of its appeal, but even a decent monster story and fore-shadowing of the human-cloning debate don't entirely account for the fact that there will surely be at least one kid who, with stitches painted on his green face and mock bolts sticking from the sides of his neck, will lurch up to my doorstep October 31st and holler 'Trick or Treat' in monsterspeak. Here's where I need to get a bit more serious with my analysis, because I suspect that Frankenstein is one of just a few texts that is actually important, because it was instrumental in helping literature-an as expository art form-climb to the next level. The Victorian era was a landscape of chaos-think Industrial and French revolutions-from which a most unsightly, energetic, and important monster lurched to life and strode across Europe like a colossus. No, not Frankenstein's monster, I'm talking about Freud. Intellectuals of the day had wonderful avenues of speculation to discuss over coffee. All kinds of new things were going on and it is no wonder that, from that great mixing of intellectual nutrients-the Victorian petri-dish of ideas and ideals-we get Mary Shelley's gem. It combines, in ambitious literary metaphor, Freud's ideas of the ego, id, and unconscious-Frank, his creation, and the 'desert mountains and deep, glacial ravines'-with concerns over science, and all the while paying homage to the backdrop of Christianity that lay under Europe like the mantle of the Earth-a creator who despises his creation, who, in turn, loves and hates his creator. It's wonderful stuff. The Victorian century, with all that was going on, was just ripe for this kind of mixed speculation and commentary, and we are the lucky inheritors of the fruits of that chaotic time. Frankenstein, because of its depth of conscience, and the breadth of its ambitious, allegorical commentary, will undoubtedly be around for quite some time. I urge prospective readers to set aside their previous ideas about the story, their visions of lurching monsters-I always get the tennis-shoed, orange hairball or the blockhead in Young Frankenstein howling 'Fire Bad!'-and take the time to read the story from a fresh perspective. It's well worth it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shelley's Frankenstein and what lies beneath the surface, March 31 2002
Upon first glance, Mary Shelley´¿s Frankenstein can be seen as a simple horror story of a brilliant, if not obsessive scientist who in his quest to create life unwittingly unleashes a hideous, seemingly unstoppable monster upon the world. As the novel progresses, the reader must decide who the real monster of the story is. Is it the murderous creature, Frankenstein creates? Or is it Frankenstein himself. Ultimately, this question leads to a chilling finale amid the frozen arctic in which both characters apparently perish forever.
That would be the impression one would get after just a light reading of the text, but if one were to look much closer at the novel, they may discover many other things about this re-markable piece of Victorian literature. One of the major themes in Frankenstein seems to be one of rebellion. Victor Frankenstein rebels against the laws of nature by playing God and creating life. In turn, his creation also rebels against a society that fears and hates him. Before this hap-pens, though, the creature must first learn the concept of rebellion. The creature does this in through books it finds while hiding out in the barn of an old cabin. As the creature carries out its self-education, one book it turns to is Paradise Lost. Upon reading this, the creature remarks, ´¿Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss on my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me´¿ (Shelley 105). The creature takes on many aspects of Satan from Paradise Lost, and can perhaps be called a ´¿Satanic Hero´¿ because of this. The creature in this book can be seen as rebelling against a society that fears and hates him.
Other important items, a reader can look for upon reading this novel is an emphasis on extremes, excess and feelings that appears throughout the course of the book. This emphasis on extremes can be best discerned by Victor Frankenstein´¿s decision not to make a mate for the creature. In regards to this, he states, ´¿´¿ for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price perhaps of the existence of the whole human race´¿ (Shelley 138). Here we see that Frankenstein´¿s mindset is one of extremes. He believes that his work can either save mankind by curing death or destroy mankind completely. Simi-larly, the landscapes described in Frankenstein are ones of excess. They are rugged and craggy, extremes of nature.
It would be an understatement to say that this novel has had a great effect on many forms of literature that have followed it. However, Frankenstein can also be seen as more than a sim-ple horror story. For some reason, we cannot truly hate the creature despite the numerous acts of depravity it might exact in its quest for vengeance. No matter how many innocents die by his hands, the creature still appears somewhat sympathetic to us. Perhaps this is why in the original cut of James Whales´¿ film version of Frankenstein he had a scene in which Boris Karloff´¿s creature attempts to rescue a little girl he has thrown into a pond, upon realizing that she cannot swim. This scene was eventually cut before the film was released, a result no doubt of a society unable to find sympathy in a monster.
That is not the case for the many who have read Shelley´¿s novel though. In the end, the creature may be more human than it is given credit for. Reaching the end of the book, we are left feeling that perhaps the only thing the creature wanted was to have a mate, and to not be lonely. That has to be something all human beings long for at least once in their lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, Dec 22 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Two things are amazing. This book and the reviewer who says "Despite many strengths, Frankenstein has fatal flaws". I find it grotesque when "critics" pick apart a masterpiece, a work that the critic themselves couldn't create in their wildest dreams. A work that they couldn't match with anything in their boring lives.
Yes, you can find something "wrong" in any work of art or science. But when something is so amazing as is this book (one of the greatest of all time, including the future), one should temper their criticism with praise. Point out all the good points , the amazing points, and the "flaws" will disappear as unimportant.
Critics are so pitiful.
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Frankenstein
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Paperback - Dec 17 1995)
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