Frankenstein Bicentennial group read

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Frankenstein Bicentennial group read

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Editado: Jan 4, 2018, 2:45pm

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.'

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.

Editado: Jan 4, 2018, 2:52pm

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.

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.

Editado: Jan 4, 2018, 3:17pm

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
Frankenstein Films

13 Books Inspired by Frankenstein
Eleven YA books about Mary Shelley and/or Frankenstein's Monster

Jan 4, 2018, 3:18pm

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.

Jan 4, 2018, 3:35pm

I hope you have a great time reading Frankenstein. It's been ages since I read it and would love a re-read but now's not the right time for me. I really liked it back then and hope I'd feel the same way now.

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.

Jan 4, 2018, 5:25pm

I recently read Frankenstein for the first time. I am
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!

Jan 4, 2018, 7:03pm

Checking in. I have a few others ahead of Frankenstein this month, but I'll get to it.

Jan 4, 2018, 7:24pm

If you want an audio version, Big Finish has a dramatization featuring Doctor Who alumni Arthur Darvill (Mr. Rory Pond), Nicholas Briggs (the voice of the Daleks), and Georgia Moffett (Jenny, the Doctor's daughter):

I haven't listened to this myself, but I really like Big Finish ;)

Editado: Jan 4, 2018, 8:14pm

>5 PawsforThought: That is a fun fact and I didn't know that. While putting this page together I got sidetracked watching the trailers for Haunted Summer (1988), Ken Russell's Gothic (1986) and Victor Frankenstein (2015).

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 -

>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.

Jan 4, 2018, 9:52pm

>9 avatiakh: I understand the multiple reads juggling. I have 2 year-long reads (Bible & a devotional). Then I am reading two fiction books and listening to one at the moment. All three are very different so I have no chance of mixing them up in my brain. I may add a non-fiction into the mix also.

Jan 5, 2018, 4:29am

I have finished my Penguin Classics edition of Frankenstein, having started it over the Christmas holidays. I also recorded (knowing I was going to read it) a 1 hour documentary on BBC4 of how Mary Shelley, her life and how she came to write the book. All very interesting and not a little odd. Certainly not a conventional life. Supposedly one the the tutors (the nice one of the two) is a representation of her father.

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.

Jan 5, 2018, 9:31am

I think I will go ahead and join in since I have a copy on my kindle. This will be a re-read for me I think I read this on back in 2010 or 2011 so it has been a couple of years.

Jan 5, 2018, 12:28pm

This is my third reading of Frankenstein. I am reading an annotated version edited by Leslie S. Klinger. I'm taking my time on the introductory chapters as they have a great amount of detail about Mary Shelley. It is extremely detailed. This book has a beautiful introduction by Guillermo del Toro. It's really a love letter to the book. I'll see if I can get some quotes sometime this week.

Jan 5, 2018, 1:43pm

Thanks for setting up the thread! Frankenstein is next on my plate!

Editado: Jan 10, 2018, 9:43am

I started this reread last night and I was able to get a couple chapters in. I did notice that I found myself a bit annoyed while reading through the letters at the very beginning, maybe its because I already know how much of a jerk Victor Frankenstein will be after creating "the monster" Frankenstein.

Jan 10, 2018, 9:45pm

I'm at the chapter when Frankenstein comes alive....I know in most of the movies you have this mad scientist in this lab w all this equipment and electricity etc, but in the book it's like and one dark stormy night this dead creature came alive....
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?

Jan 11, 2018, 1:45am

>16 ALWINN: I found myself with the same question - OK, so how did that happen? No answer...
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.

Jan 11, 2018, 8:38am

I tried to tell myself okay Ann this was written in 1817.... we are so use to details HOW DID THIS HAPPEN describe it, show us not just so this creature was laying at my foot then all of a sudden he opened his yellow eyes................

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

Jan 11, 2018, 11:44am

Which edition is everyone reading? My book is annotated and is based on the 1818 edition, but will have notes based on the 1823 and 1831 editions. Most published editions today are 1831, but some publishers are reprinting the original 1818 edition for the bicentennial.

Here is one coming out soon from Penguin Classics

Jan 11, 2018, 11:50am

Mine was the penguin version based on the 1831 publication, but with an appendix detailing changes from the 1818 publication. I'm afraid I'm not that much of a scholar to read that appendix...

Jan 11, 2018, 11:52am

Im not sure which editions mine is since its at home, but it does have a lot of notes, appendix and what have you.

Jan 11, 2018, 10:25pm

>18 ALWINN: I agree, the actual creation part is only a couple of paragraphs.
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.

Jan 12, 2018, 8:51am

I'm reading the Airmont Classic edition that my father had and gave to me when I was younger.
After almost two weeks, I am only 32 pages in. I keep falling asleep. Every time I start reading it, I nod off.

Jan 12, 2018, 10:34am

I guess this book is more focused on the consequences of creating Frankenstein then the actual creation.

Jan 13, 2018, 8:10pm

>23 VictoriaPL: I hope I do better when I get around to it. The only copy in the library is on reserve so I'll probably download one of the versions available at Amazon or Internet Archive.

Jan 15, 2018, 9:30am

I read a couple more chapters this weekend, Im just having a really hard time getting through this book this time around. Victor Frankenstein is just one big eye roll for me this time around.

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.

Jan 15, 2018, 9:39am

>26 ALWINN: I'm a bit further along now, Frankenstein is in Scotland. I enjoyed the monster's story about living beside the cottage.

Jan 16, 2018, 1:17pm

I found the Duke Classics edition via Overdrive was available so I began reading it last night. I'm enjoying it so far.

Jan 18, 2018, 10:10pm

I finished listening to an excellent audio version of Frankenstein (the 1831 version, I presume), narrated by Simon Vance. I enjoyed the story and the gothic elements, though there is sometimes a little too much melodrama for my tastes.

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.

Jan 18, 2018, 11:51pm

I finished a couple of days ago now. I also really enjoyed the story and found that while I knew about Frankenstein's monster from popular culture (Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein), I actually knew next to nothing of the actual plot.
I need to read some more about the book and its legacy.

Jan 19, 2018, 1:39am

>29 mathgirl40: Adding This Dark Endeavour to my library requests.

Jan 19, 2018, 8:12am

>31 avatiakh: I hope you like it! Oppel is an excellent YA author. If you like steampunk adventure, I'd also recommend Oppel's Airborn trilogy.

Jan 19, 2018, 9:48am

I found that I liked Frankenstein a lot more the 1st time around but as a re-read if just felt flat to me. Maybe Im not just in the mood at the moment but there were many times in the story I caught myself well How did that happen?

I will just hold on to the thoughts I had the 1st time around.

Jan 19, 2018, 3:11pm

>32 mathgirl40: Thanks. I read a lot of YA and steampunk adventure done well is always entertaining.