Frankenstein Bicentennial group read
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Frankenstein at 200: the birth of a gothic monster
'No work of literature has done more to shape the way people imagine science and its moral consequences than Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility. The novel’s themes and tropes—such as the complex dynamic between creator and creation—continue to resonate with contemporary audiences. Frankenstein continues to influence the way we confront emerging technologies, conceptualize the process of scientific research, imagine the motivations and ethical struggles of scientists, and weigh the benefits of innovation with its unforeseen pitfalls.' http://frankenstein.asu.edu/
Welcome to our January shared read, a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Please post the cover of the edition you are reading and/or any info about the book that you come across along with your thoughts on the book.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein - first printed on 1 January 1818.
Shelley came up with the idea at the age of 18 after being challenged by romantic poet Lord Byron, while in Switzerland, to construct a ghost story. The results were to have a monumental impact. This was the kernel from which the story of Frankenstein would emerge.
Was there a real Dr. Frankenstein? Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. It was written in 1816-1817, during a time when bringing the dead back to life was a serious endeavor in scientific circles. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley) wrote the book as an exploration of the ethics of such experimentation and brought the question to a wider audience. The model for the character of Dr. Frankenstein could have been any, or several, of a number of actual people.
Mary Shelley was a highly yet unconventionally educated teenager in the summer of 1816. She and her future husband Percy Shelley were staying with Lord Byron at his home on Lake Geneva when the idea of the novel came to her. She was undoubtedly influenced by intellectual discussions with Shelley, Byron, and a host of their friends. A look back at the time reveals how the novel reflected real events Mary Shelley knew about and incorporated into the story. http://mentalfloss.com/article/19855/who-was-dr-frankenstein
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, (born Aug. 30, 1797, London, Eng.—died Feb. 1, 1851, London), English Romantic novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein.
The only daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she met the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 and eloped with him to France in July 1814. The couple were married in 1816, after Shelley’s first wife had committed suicide. After her husband’s death in 1822, she returned to England and devoted herself to publicizing Shelley’s writings and to educating their only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. She published her late husband’s Posthumous Poems (1824); she also edited his Poetical Works (1839), with long and invaluable notes, and his prose works. Her Journal is a rich source of Shelley biography, and her letters are an indispensable adjunct.
She wrote several other novels, including Valperga (1823), The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837); The Last Man (1826), an account of the future destruction of the human race by a plague, is often ranked as her best work. Her travel book History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (1817) recounts the continental tour she and Shelley took in 1814 following their elopement and then recounts their summer near Geneva in 1816.
Late 20th-century publications of her casual writings include The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814–1844 (1987), edited by Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert, and Selected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1995), edited by Betty T. Bennett.
Frankenstein in popular culture
Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and the famous character of Frankenstein's monster, have influenced popular culture for at least a century. The work has inspired numerous films, television programs, video games and derivative works. The character of the monster remains one of the most recognized icons in horror fiction.
10 Best On-Screen Versions of Frankenstein
13 Books Inspired by Frankenstein
Eleven YA books about Mary Shelley and/or Frankenstein's Monster
I've read the opening letters and am about to dive into chapter one today. My edition of the book is the very uninspiring Orange Penguin one.
Fun fact a lot of people might not know: on the night Mary Shelley started writing Frankenstein (on the "dark, stormy night" she, Percy and their friends decided to have a writing competition), their friend John William Polidori started on The Vampyre the first published modern vampire story. So while Shelley arguably invented science fiction, Polidori arguably invented vampire fiction.
not going to reread it now, but I loved the book and very much look forward to everyone’s comments on this thread. I think I remember enough details of this book to make following this thread great fun. Enjoy the novel, everyone!
I haven't listened to this myself, but I really like Big Finish ;)
I've read a couple of YA retellings fairly recently but have never read the original. Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley & Strange Star by Emma Carroll are quite different and both enjoyable reads. Carroll writes here about teaching Frankenstein to teenagers and her inspiration for her book - https://www.faber.co.uk/blog/my-inspiration-for-strange-star/
>6 SqueakyChu: I hope we can get a good discussion going
>7 thornton37814: I'm reading about 6 books at the same time so am only managing a few pages each day at present.
>8 rabbitprincess: I'll have to check that out.
I'm not sure that the multiple narrators worked terribly well, they all spoke with the same voice. There was no difference that i could discern between the captain, Frankenstein and the creature. But then, maybe that's part of the point, we can't tell who is cultured or good based on their appearance. I would still have expected a difference in tone between the three.
I'm like okay HOW?!?! I realize this was written in 1817 and the thought of a electrical current etc was beyond a dream but it felt really flat. But enough of all that since how the creature came alive is not the great issue here. BUT why does Victor have such a great desire to become Godlike reguarding death? What did he think the creature would look like coming back from the dead? If Victor was so horrified by the creature that he created why could he not just reverse what he did to bring him alive?
As a child Mary is supposed to have seen, or at least heard about, experiments akin to that undertaken by Galvani when he used electricity to make the muscles of a dead animal twitch in response to an applied current. In which case, electricity is the obvious source of what animates the creatures, with the dark and stormy night suggesting lightning.
Im reading a story tell me did you throw holy water on the thing did lightening strike etc I want to read about the dead thing at his feet twitching from the current but SOMETHINGGGGGGG
Here is one coming out soon from Penguin Classics
I've just finished vol 1 of the story which finishes about 2 years after the creation of the monster and F is starting to see the supposed consequences of his creation.
I'm enjoying it, I love the atmosphere that Shelley has created around Frankenstein and his suffering. At times I'm reminded of ETA Hoffman's novella, The Sandman that I read last year., I note that this was published in 1816.
After almost two weeks, I am only 32 pages in. I keep falling asleep. Every time I start reading it, I nod off.
So 2 years as went by since the monster Frankenstein came "alive" sooooooooooooo what has been going on during this time? And how in the world did Frankenstein find his family to be able to kill Victors brother........... Just so many unanswered questions. I may go and read some of the essays in the back of the book.
I can't believe it had taken me this long to get around to reading such a well-known classic. I'm glad that this group read was organized to give me the motivation I needed. I did read and enjoy, a few years ago, a YA book based on the Frankenstein story, This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel.
I need to read some more about the book and its legacy.
I will just hold on to the thoughts I had the 1st time around.