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5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough look at Mary Shelley's original work.
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...
Published on May 2 2004 by T. West

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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3.0 out of 5 stars "cursed, cursed creator.", Nov. 4 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 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.", July 21 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The commentary tries to give depth and meaning to this poorly written story.

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.", June 27 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The commentary tries to give depth and meaning to this poorly written story.

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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquently Written Horror Classic, Jan. 19 2004
By 
C. Stephans - See all my reviews
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Frankenstein exceeded my expectations that were based on movies I have seen by the same title. This book is a literary masterpiece that sets a bar for terror that is yet to be surpassed.
I was very impressed by the writing skill of Shelley. She does a terrific job telling this story, using three narrators that offer different points of view and voices.
The monster is a character that elicited sympathy, respect, anger and hatred. He is intelligent and articulate in a way I did not expect. His ability to convey emotions and thoughts creates mixed emotions about him. Yet, because his hatred and anger prevail, these emotions prevailed in me too in my regards of him.
Shelley shows the danger of allowing one's ambitions to overtake balance and reason. We see the character of Dr. Frankenstein forsake all to see this dream of creating life realized. We see the consequences of his actions that are a warning to us to tread more cautiously regarding our ambitions.
All of the characters are developed comprehensively.
I enjoyed reading this but had to set it aside at times because of the tragedy it entails. You know where the story is headed but still hold out some hope that it will turn out more positively--like watching Titanic, you know it is going to sink but still hope maybe it won't.
I think this is a timeless classic you should read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time; exquisitely written, terrrifying novel, Jan. 18 2004
By 
C. Stephans - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was surprised by the literary beauty of this book and by its intriguing horror. It was not at all what I had expected based on my exposure to Frankenstein movies and tales. This story is quite different in many ways that make it more appealing to the reader.
The tale involves a monster that is truly hideous in form but reveals a conflicted mind and heart. Shelley effectively causes the reader to have mixed feelings about this creature that wields destruction while confessing its own misery and affection for humanity.
She also conveys the dangers of a person pursuing his or her ambition at the cost of other values such as relationships and peace.
The novel is told in an innovative fashion. Shelley uses three different narrators to tell the story. This creates some variety in the point of view and in the voice of the narrator.
This book is very compelling, but at times I had to put it down due to the tragedy of it. The whole time you know where its events are leading and a part of you wants to go there and another part wants to avoid it--like watching Titanic, you know it is going to sink but you still hold out some hope it won't and you try to avoid its definitive demise.
I think this is a horror story that has yet to be surpassed in literature. I really felt for the characters, including the monster. I was completely entertained by the skillful writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Bad Book at All!!, Jan. 13 2004
By A Customer
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley starts off very uninteresting. In the beginning, a man writes letters to his sister in England but the story soon begins to pick up. Don't be discouraged when you read the first page or two. Give it a chance you will learn to love this story.
This novel is definitely not the same as the black and white movies you may have seen. Mary Shelley shows a whole new side to the monster in her novel. There are many conflicts and themes in this story. There is love, hate, and the most obvious rage. This is a classic story of a gothic monster gone mad and even though it was written well over 100 years ago it can still scare the pants off of people today.
This book touches on the main problem in society, acceptance. There are so many people out there who will change their look, their attitude and their entire lifestyle just to be accepted. This relates to me because I am now in high school and I have observed people who will do anything to be accepted. In my opinion it is ok to want to be accepted but when a person is willing to harm themselves, just to have more friends, that is not ok with me. Mary Shelley shows us the reality of life in this wonderfully touching story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars You Should Read This, Jan. 9 2004
By A Customer
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley starts off very uninteresting. In the beginning, a man writes letters to his sister in England but the story soon begins to pick up. Donï¿t be discouraged when you read the first page or two. Give it a chance you will learn to love this story.
This novel is definitely not the same as the black and white movies you may have seen. Mary Shelley shows a whole new side to the monster in her novel. There are many conflicts and themes in this story. There is love, hate, and the most obvious rage. This is a classic story of a gothic monster gone mad and even though it was written well over 100 years ago it can still scare the pants off of people today.
This book touches on the main problem in society, acceptance. There are so many people out there who will change their look, their attitude and their entire lifestyle just to be accepted. This relates to me because I am now in high school and I have observed people who will do anything to be accepted. In my opinion it is ok to want to be accepted but when a person is willing to harm themselves, just to have more friends, that is not ok with me. Mary Shelley shows us the reality of life in this wonderfully touching story.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A lot a substance, but no style..., Nov. 21 2003
By A Customer
I have read numerous reviews of this book, and all of them emphasized two extreme: The book is a masterpiece of horror and examination of human nature, or the book is an utter abomination that does not live up to expectations. Upon reading the book, I failed to see how it has stood the test of time so well, with so many people proclaiming it a masterpiece. On the other hand, it saddens me to see that some people are so narrow minded as to decry the book merely because it does not live up to its reputation as horror novel.
However, in the end one must observe Frankenstein as a literary work in general and not a horror novel whose plot and story have been so twisted and mutilated since its publication with countless inaccurate films and a lack of people who have actually read the book. When I look at it in this sense, I'm afraid I must still look upon this work with poor esteem. I stumbled upon a review crying out for people to recognize the depth of this book and not write it off as a horror novel, and I agree with that reviewer; the book does have depth, exploring the human condition in a truely unique way. However, there is no point in praising a literary work based simply upon the depth of the themes. No matter how deep a novel it, in the end you still have to read it, and that is the trouble with Frankenstein. The themes presented in the book can not be assertained because the execution of it is horrendous. Whether you want to view it as a book of horror or not, one can't help but notice how incredibly bland and drawn out this book is. It is difficult to stay awake, let alone be captivated, by a book that is so saturated with hyperbole and displaced emotion. Perhaps if Shelley spent more time developing her characters rather than simply focusing on the exaggerated emotional states of Victor and the Creature, story might actually seem plausible; instead, the character are uniformly formily immaculate and possess the same emotional expressions as Victor. The only two character that show any distinction are Victor and his father.
Also, the plot itself is detestably unrealitistic. Of course a common complaint is that the creation of the monster is not described at all in detail, and, although the actual process of creation is not important for the developement of the themes of the book, I would have to agree that it wouldn't hurt the show the reader some plausibilty. Also, it is difficult to grasp the concept that as a human being it takes the average person about a year to learn how to read on a seccond grade level, yet the monster is able to teach himself how to read without the aid of a teacher possessing the knowledge of the fundamental concepts of written language and comprehend works by Ovid and Aristotle in a matter of months, not to mention speak more articulately than I can.
In essence, Frankenstein is certainly credible for its depth, but anyone can be a philosopher. Unfortuantely, literature is an art, and, therefore it takes a talented author to create a reabable and enjoyable vehicle for such insight. If you can't read a book, it's not good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Relevant Today Than When First Written, Nov. 18 2003
By 
Gary F. Taylor "GFT" (Biloxi, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Modern readers must jump through a number of hoops to enjoy this legendary novel. Written between 1816 and 1818, this is very much a novel of its era, and both language and ideas about plot are quite different from those of today. That aside, and unlike such contemporaries as Jane Austen, author Mary Shelly has never been greatly admired for her literary style, which is often awkward. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that of our own expectations: while it certainly sent icy chills down the spines of 19th Century readers, FRANKENSTEIN is not a horror novel per se.
While Mary Shelly might have been stylistically weak, her story was not. Nothing like it had been written before, and the concept of a student endowing life upon a humanoid creature cobbled together from charnel house parts was unexpectedly shocking to the reading public. But even more shocking were the ideas that Shelly brought to the story. Having created this thing in his own image, what--if anything--does the creator owe it? And in posing this question, Shelly very deliberately raises her novel to an even more complex level: this is not merely the conflict of man and his creation, but also a questioning of God and his responsibility toward his creation.
In some respects, the book is written like the famous philosophical "dialogues" of the ancient world: a counterpoint of questions and arguments that do battle for the reader's acceptance. More than anything else, FRANKENSTEIN is a novel of ethics and of ideas about ideas, with Mary Shelly's themes arrayed in multiple layers throughout: God, self, society, science; responsibility to self, to society, to the things we bring to society, to the truth; life, integrity, and death--these are the ideas and issues that predominate the book, and any one expecting a horror novel pure and simple is out of luck.
Mary Shelly is a rare example of a writer whose ideas clearly outstrip her literary skill--but whose ideas are so powerful that they transcend her literary limitations and continue to resonate today. And indeed, as science continues to advance, it could not be otherwise so. Mary Shelly could not see into the future of DNA research, laboratory-grown tissues, test-tube babies and the like--but between 1816 and 1818 she wrote a book about the ethical dilemmas that swirl around them. And for all its flaws, FRANKENSTEIN is perhaps even more relevant today than it was over a hundred and fifty years ago.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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