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5.0 out of 5 stars A man made of the dead
Everyone has heard of Frankenstein's monster... or at least the Hollywood version, with green skin, boxy head and bolts in his neck.

But the original creature is quite different in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," which starts off rather slow but builds into a tragic, darkly hypnotic tale about tampering in God's domain, and the terrible consequences that...
Published 5 months ago by E. A Solinas

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 9 months ago by bernie


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5.0 out of 5 stars A man made of the dead, Feb. 22 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Everyone has heard of Frankenstein's monster... or at least the Hollywood version, with green skin, boxy head and bolts in his neck.

But the original creature is quite different in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," which starts off rather slow but builds into a tragic, darkly hypnotic tale about tampering in God's domain, and the terrible consequences that come from it. Also: if you create a new creature out of dead body parts, don't disown him or he'll kill your family.

During a trip across the Arctic, a ship picks up a starved, half-frozen man named Victor Frankenstein. As he recovers, Frankenstein tells them his life story -- especially about how he became fascinated with science, and developed a process to reanimate dead tissue. Eventually he constructs a new creature out of dead body parts, and brings him to life.

But while the creature is intelligent and articulate, he's also hideously ugly. Horrified that he's not beautiful, Frankenstein flees... and has a nervous breakdown. Wimp.

But months later, the murder of his little brother brings Victor back to his home, where he figures out that the creature was involved. And to his horror, the creature now wants a mate. But the loathing between them -- caused by Frankenstein's disgust and the creature's increasing bitterness -- leads to even more tragedy...

"Frankenstein" is one of those rare novels that is almost beyond classification -- it's gothic horror, it's sci-fi, it's a tragedy about scientific ambition that goes where it shouldn't go. Mary Shelley was only eighteen years old when she began writing this book, but she interwove religion, science and a fiercely intelligent knowledge of human nature into it.

Her writing is a bit stuffy at times ("All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own"), but that's because it was written in the early 1800s. Despite this, Shelley's writing skills shine in the more horrific moments of the story ("I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs"), and she imbues it with a sense of painful, grimy suspense.

But the complicated characters of Victor and the creature are what really make the story work. Victor is actually a pretty horrible person -- while he's a tragic figure whose unnatural ambitions end up destroying his wife, brother and father, he's also incredibly cruel and callous to the creature because... he's ugly.

The creature, on the other hand, instantly gets our sympathy. He's intelligent and childlike at first, but his ugliness causes everyone to immediately hate and fear him. When him becomes embittered and eventually murderous, you still feel sorry for him.

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is one of those few, rare horror books -- it adds a little more of that scientific gothic atmosphere to a classic tale of horror, slime and sorrow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Got exactly what I wanted, Jan. 28 2014
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This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
What more can I say? I needed a copy of this book for school and didn't want to pay university bookstore price for it
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Cursed, cursed creator.", Oct. 19 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 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?

The Thirteenth Floor
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best dark gothic novels!, Sept. 29 2013
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Mary Shelley has created a legend! This legend, leads us to the pure terror where science has no place there. When science is crossing over religion, something unexplainable and hrorrifying would happen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book, July 30 2013
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This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
very good book and very good stories (story) when you start reading it you can't stop ever after I recommand it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling and emotional, May 23 2013
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This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
This great story is a delight to read and it also made me realise how greatly this work influenced the modern multimedia, its interesting!
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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)   
XXXXX

(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>>

XXXXX
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2.0 out of 5 stars Livre, Feb. 13 2013
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This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
Je ne l'ai toujours pas reçu. J'ai contacter le vendeur, très gentil, qui m'a dit qu'il m'en envoyerait un autre... J'attend toujours
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4.0 out of 5 stars Annotated Edition, Feb. 8 2013
By 
Nicola Mansfield (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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Reason for Reading: I intend to read the upcoming non-fiction title "The Lady and Her Monsters" which is about the writing and background of the creation of the novel "Frankenstein" so I thought it would be best if I re-read the book to better appreciate the former.

I am a huge Frankenstein fan! I first watched the Boris Karloff movie as a young child and have since seen it dozens of times. I've seen all the MGM sequels and have a deluxe DVD edition with commentaries, etc. I've also seen many, many different remakes, pastiches and parodies of the movie as well as reading Frankenstein themed retellings, comics and pastiches. I have read this, the original book, once before when I was quite young. It was one of the first books I took out of the library when I obtained an adult library card with special permission of my father at 12 or 13. (You had to be 14, or in highschool, to get one at the time). Needless to say at this point in time 30 years later, the movie version, specifically the James Whale (Boris Karloff) version is the one that I think of when I think of the Frankenstein story.

When I went into reading this book I knew that it was a totally different story than what my mind recalls from the movies but I also remembered that it started in the Arctic with the monster relating his story to Frankenstein. So from this I was totally blown away with how incredibly different the actual story is to the conceived modern notion of the tale. The book is told in narrative form from three different points of view and is a story within a story within a story. Starting off with a mariner writing home letters to his sister as he starts an Arctic expedition and then becomes stuck in ice he recounts his tale and his meeting of Victor Frankenstein who stumbles upon them near death in his mad chase of his creature. Then Walton, the mariner, recounts the tale that Frankenstein relates to him of his life. The awful, hideous story of his wretched life. Halfway through this recounting Frankenstein stops to relate the story the creature pauses to tell him of his life story since he woke from the "spark of life" and wandered into the world on his own. Then it goes back to Frankenstein's narrative and finally ends again with Walton's letters. This way we get both Frankenstein and the creature's tales from their own mouths, in their own words as they were related to the person they spoke to.

Neither Frankenstein or the creature are sympathetic which I found surprising, as in the movie I am deeply sympathetic to Karloff's monster. But in the novel, he is a vile, wicked, murdering beast who at first thinks he has human compassion but quickly is turned from having any and easily finds violence and revenge better to his suiting when he is not treated fairly by others. Frankenstein himself is simply mad, the quintessential mad scientist. Obsessed with his creation he thinks of nothing else, working in solitude day and night until he completes his reanimation of life. Upon first glimpse of this "life" he is so horrified that he runs from it and from this point on he becomes obsessed with finding it and destroying it, however the monster has developed his own lust for destroying Frankenstein and sets out to destroy him also, not bodily but in mind and soul by killing all who mean anything to him.

A frightening tale that shows the futility and madness at playing God with science, even though the book mentions very little about religion. This edition I read from "The Whole Story" edition is a wonderful annotated edition which really brings the classics to life. The annotations don't particularly help explain the story any better, though there are some pictures and definitions of some items and devices one may not be familiar with. The main purpose of these annotations is to set one geographically and historically within the place and era that the book was written. Profusely illustrated with etchings and paintings of place names mentioned in the story one becomes immersed in the scenery and in this book particularly the Gothic feel comes to life. Historically we see the prisons of the time period, meet the Romantic poets and artists who shaped the life of the author and the mood which carried over into this novel. I really enjoy and recommend this edition, have several others in the series and would pick up any others I found, but unfortunately they are out of print at this time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils., Dec 2 2012
This review is from: Frankenstein (Paperback)
'Frankenstein' is just one of those novels that does it for me. It makes me feel dumber than I am, smarter than I am, and more hopeful for what I could be as a writer than most books. The Shelleys (yes, Percy unfortunately takes credit for parts of it) wrote a seminal work for the horror, science fiction, Romantic, and Gothic novels. So much of the dread and melancholy contained in these pages has spread to later books. However, I love this one, particularly for its symbolic attention to the Prometheus story.

The creature in the novel is spectacular. He's terrifying, yet beautiful at the same time. Many expect 'Frankenstein' to follow some mindless ogre as he kills townspeople, but not this creature. He reads Milton, and laments his lack of family--Victor Frankenstein coldly disowns him at "birth." He faces rejection from everyone, even his creator, and decides that overcoming his creator, after having him make a partner, is the only way to go. His status as an outsider reminds me how all of these characters are outsiders, from Frankenstein losing his mother and marrying science, to his own wife being an adopted child (and weirdly, his own adopted sister!). It's a novel that looks at what happens in the realm of Otherness when all the Others are seeking selfhood.

I won't give more away--you should just read it! It's fantastic, and great reading around Halloween, and of course, the month of November.
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Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Paperback - Dec 17 1995)
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