I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the otherFrom the 1994 movieThe worst thing about this novel is how distorted it has become by constant movie adaptations and misinformed ideas about the nature of Frankenstein and his monster For years, like many others, I thought Frankenstein was the name of that slightly green dude with the bolts in his neck Nuh uh.Did Frankenstein scare me Did it have me staying awake and sleeping with the light on, jumping at every slight creak in the house Was I terrified of the monster and technology and the dangers of playing God No Because the beauty of this story is that it isn t the one so many people think it is Which is almost my favourite thing about it This book is not a Halloween kind of story with Halloween kind of monsters This story is heartbreakingly sadonce I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfoldingThe book offers many interesting avenues of philosophical exploration if one wishes to ponder such things For example, allusions to religion and Genesis, possible criticisms of using science to play God , and the relationship between creator and creation All of these things interest me, yes, but it is the painfully human part of this book that has always so deeply affected me Because the sad thing, the really sad thing, is that pretty much everyone has heard of Frankenstein s monster but so many don t know how human the character is Created as a scientific experiment by an overly ambitious man, he comes into a frightening and hostile world that immediately rejects him on sight Even the man who made him cannot look upon his creation without feeling horror It s that same thing that gets me in books every time things could have been so different If people had just been a little less judgmental, a little less scared, and a little understanding This being, created from different parts of corpses, seeks love and finds hatred, so he instead decides to embrace it Fuelled by his own rage at the unfairness of the world, he gradually turns towards evil He belongs in my own little mental category with the likes of Heathcliff and Erik aka The Phantom of the Opera Scared, angry villains who were made so by their own unfortunate circumstances The kind of characters you simultaneously hate and love, but most of all hope they find some kind of peace.So call it science fiction, if you want Call it horror, if you must But this story is brimming with some of the most realistic and almost unbearably moving human emotion that I have ever read.Blog Leafmarks Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr It s been fifty years since I had read Frankenstein, and, now after a recent second reading I am pleased to know that the pleasures of that first reading have been revived Once again just as it was in my teens I was thrilled by the first glimpse of the immense figure of the monster, driving his sled across the arctic ice, and marveled at the artful use of narrative frames within frame, each subsequent frame leading us closer to the heart of the novel, until we hear the alienated yet articulate voice of the creature himself In addition, I admired the equally artful way the novel moves backward through the same frames until we again reach the arctic landscape which is the scene of the novel s beginningand its end.This time through, I was particularly struck with how Mary must have been influenced by the novels of her father The relentless hounding of one man by another who feels his life has been poisoned by that man s irresponsible curiosity is a theme taken straight out of Godwin s Caleb Williams, and the cautionary account of a monomaniac who gradually deprives himself of the satisfactions of family, friends and love in pursuit of an intellectual ideal is reminiscent of the alchemist of St Leon Her prose also is like her father s in her ability to make delicate philosophical distinctions and express abstract ideas, but she is a much better writer than he her sentences are elegant and disciplined, and her descriptive details aptly chosen and her scenes effectively realized.The conclusion of the novel seems hasty and incomplete, but perhaps that is because the concept of Frankenstein is so revolutionary that no conclusion could have seemed satisfactory At any rate, this fine novel has given birth to a host of descendants, and unlike Victor Frankenstein is a worthy parent of its many diverse creations. No stars That s right Zero, zip nada.It s been almost 30 years since I ve detested a book this much I didn t think anything could be worse then Kafka s The Metamorphosis Seems I m never too old to be wrong This time, I don t have the excuse that I was forced to read this for high school lit class Oh no, this time I read this of my own volition and for fun Yeah, fun Kinda like sticking bamboo shoots between my fingernails type of fun Watching paint dry fun Going to an Air Supply concert fun.OK, to be fair, I need to tell you what I liked about this.Well, Mary Shelley was a teen when she wrote this Color me impressed At 19 I was just looking for my next college boyfriend, not penning the great English classic Kudos to Mary for that.Otherwise, I can t think of anything to admire in this book, apart from the fact that it s the only book in my reading history where I actually noted EVERY SINGLE PAGE NUMBER and mentally counted down the time I d be finished.Why did I persist, you may ask Well, at the point where the pain became mind numbing, I decided to channel my inner John McCain and just survive the torture Figured it would make me a better, stronger reader Might even make me enjoy a re read of Breaking Dawn well, no it wouldn t, but you get the idea Frankenstein is a classic alright A classic melodrama Complete with a wimpy, vaporish, trembling prima donna main character and a pseudo monster whose only sin is being uglier then Bernie Madoff in cell block D After the upteenth tremble jerk gasp faint start from our mad scientist Victor Frankenstein, I could only sign in relief that he wasn t a Rabbi about to perform a bris circumcism oy vey Were we supposed to be outraged at the monster s killing spree By the books end, I was merely miffed that the creature murdered the wrong Frankenstein sibling He would have saved himself a good deal of traveling and saved me a good deal of suffering had he snuffed out his maker before he could high tail it out of the birthing room.I m sure that the fans of this book will say that I didn t understand the deeper, symbolic nuances of this book, and I m sure that they are right At this point in my life, all I know is what I like and don t like in a book, and as far as I m concerned, this book is unadulterated, mind numbing crap But that s just me Your mileage will vary as I sincerely hope it does As for my own mileage, it can best be compared to driving a Ford Pinto in the Indy 500EDITDue to the efforts of a few Kool ade drinking trolls who have gotten their big girl big boy panties in a wad over an almost 200 year old book and can t comment nicely on my review, I am suspending all future comments.Don t like it Blame the navel grazing trolls for not accepting the concept of a PERSONAL OPINION. So.I finished it.Warning If you are a fan of classic literature and or are utterly devoid of a sense of humor this review may not be for you.Also Yes, I realize that I m a moron with zero literary credibility So, stop reading right now if the sound of an idiot whistling out of their asshole bothers you too terribly Sure, you can comment below and tell me how stupid I am, but it probably won t make me a better person Or will it I ve always wondered what the real Frankenstein story was likeand now I know.Sadly, sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality.And the reality is, this book is a big steaming pile of poo.It s an old timey horror story, right Not so much.I mean, I wasn t expecting it to actually be scary, but I thought it might be slightly creepy Unfortunately, the only horror in the story centered around me having to keep turning the pages.Unless Beware mortal You will DIE of boredom Oooga Booga Booga Yep Truly frightening.It starts like this An upper crust guy sails off to the Arctic to make discoveries, and to pass the time he writes to his sister Supposedly, he s been sailing around on whaling ships for several years And he s been proven an invaluable resource by other captains So I m assuming he s a pretty crusty ol sailor at this point Pay attention, because this is where Shelly proves that she knows nothing about menSo this guy goes on and on in these letters to his sister about how he wishes on every star that he could find a BFF at sea After a few too many letters, they pull a half frozen Frankensicle out of the water Aaaaand here s what our salty sea dog has to say about the waterlogged mad scientistBlah, blah, blahhis full toned voice swells in my ears his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetnessblah, blah, blahLustrous eyes No straight sailor ever, in the history of the world, EVER referred to another dude s eyes as lustrous Ever And I know what you re thinking Well, Anne, maybe this character was gay Didn t think about that, didjaActually, yes Yes, I did The only problem with that theory is that NONE of the male characters in this book sounded remotely male.Ladies, do you remember that time in your life probably around middle or high school , when you thought that guys actually had the same sort of thought waves running through their heads that we do You know, before you realized that the really don tcare aboutwell, all of the things that we do You thought that while they were laughing at the booger their idiot friend just flicked across the room, something deeper was stirring in their mind It just had to be I m not sure when it happens, but at some point, every woman finally realizes the fairly obvious truth.Men aren t women.That booger was the funniest thing ever, and nothing was stirring around in them other than maybe some gas.And that s ok.Fart lighting and long distance loogie hawking contests aside, they can pretty darn cool But this author was too young to realize that.My personal opinion is that Mary was probably fairly sheltered when it came to real men She was a teenage girl apparently running around with a bunch of artsy fartsy dudes Much like today, I would imagine these junior emos were probably blowing poetic smoke up her young ass in the high hopes of getting into her pants.Although it s possible I m totally misreading the situation.Anyway, Frank tells his story, and Sea Dog writes it all down for his sister.In excruciating detail.Rivers, flowers, rocks, mountain topsagonizingly cataloged And the weather God forbid a breeze blows through the story without at least a paragraph devoted to the way it felt on his skin or affected his mood And speaking of Frankenstein s mood.I don t think I ve ever had the pleasure of reading about a character this spineless before What a pussy He didn t talk so much as he whined.And the swooning He was like one of those freaking Fainting Goats I can t even count how many times he blacked out and fell over Of course, then he would get feverish and need a period of convalescence to recover.Again, every episode was recounted with incredible attention to detail.I m thrilled that I never had to miss a moment of his sweaty brow getting daubed with water Randomly Inserted Fun Fact The monster quoted Milton in Paradise Lost Shockingly, I only know this because it was in the appendix, and not because I have any real life experience with reading that one.Was this the most painfully unnecessary book I ve read this year Yes.Is there a deeper moral to this story Yes.Some would say, that the monster is a product of a society that refuses to accept someone who is different Or maybe that Victor Frankenstein was the real monster for not realizing that he had a duty to parent and care for his creation Perhaps it is meant to point out our obsession with perfection, and our willingness to disregard people who don t meet the standards of beauty as non human Some might say any of those things I , however, learned a far different lesson from Frankenstein.And it s thisTrust no one.Not even someone who just an example has been your Best Friend for decades Let s read a classic, Anne It ll be fun, Anne We can call each other with updates, Anne It ll be just like a book club, Anne Tee hee Liar, liar Pants on fire I read this whole God awful book, and you quit after 10 pages I m telling your mom Anyway.Here s the quote that sums up my experience with FrankensteinBlah, blah, blahin all the misery I imagined and dreaded, I did not conceive the hundredth part of the anguish I was destined to endure Mary Shelley Began Writing Frankenstein When She Was Only Eighteen At Once A Gothic Thriller, A Passionate Romance, And A Cautionary Tale About The Dangers Of Science, Frankenstein Tells The Story Of Committed Science Student Victor Frankenstein Obsessed With Discovering The Cause Of Generation And Life And Bestowing Animation Upon Lifeless Matter, Frankenstein Assembles A Human Being From Stolen Body Parts But Upon Bringing It To Life, He Recoils In Horror At The Creature S Hideousness Tormented By Isolation And Loneliness, The Once Innocent Creature Turns To Evil And Unleashes A Campaign Of Murderous Revenge Against His Creator, Frankenstein Frankenstein, An Instant Bestseller And An Important Ancestor Of Both The Horror And Science Fiction Genres, Not Only Tells A Terrifying Story, But Also Raises Profound, Disturbing Questions About The Very Nature Of Life And The Place Of Humankind Within The Cosmos What Does It Mean To Be Human What Responsibilities Do We Have To Each Other How Far Can We Go In Tampering With Nature In Our Age, Filled With News Of Organ Donation Genetic Engineering, And Bio Terrorism, These Questions Are Relevant Than Ever This was awesome I listened to an audiobook on YouTube as it is under the public domain You can find it here It was great The narrator did a great job of building the atmosphere and excitement in the story I always love reading the original stories behind some very iconic pop culture figures Frankenstein is obviously incredibly popular It was great to read and do a little bit of a personal independent study on major nerd here The perfect Halloween read My food is not that of man I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content with the same fare We shall make our bed of dried leaves the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food The picture I present to you is peaceful and humanThe Creature s diet is unmistakably vegetarian Vegetarianism becomes a way for the creature to renounce his creator by demonstrating his inclusive ethics Indeed, he includes within his moral code animals as well as man, but learns through his experience with the world that both he and animals are excluded from the moral compass of humanity they are not on the same level I find this entire representation fascinating, that much so I wanted to add to my review here I spent a very long time last year researching Percy Shelley s poetry and how his politics are ultimately shaped by his diet choice Some of that content is latent in Mary s work it does not take the forefront of the narrative, but it is certainly there for a reader who is willing to look for it There s much here to use for a proper developed argument, arguments I am eventually going to explore fully in my eventual PhD project One of my chapters will be a critical address of Frankenstein and The Last Man in conjunction with politics and diet Indeed, Mary Shelley s Frankenstein mirrors her husband s discourse in A Vindication of a Natural Diet. In the essay Percy Shelley directly references the promethean myth he states that it is a prime allegory for man s lost nature his fall from the golden age , as when Prometheus applied fire for culinary purposes Percy Shelley states he created a disgusting horror His liver was wrecked by the vulture of disease and all tyrannical vice, this unnaturalness, was born from the despoiling of innocence as it consumed his being in every shape of its loathsome and infinite variety The Creature, after trying cooked offal left by a campfire in Frankenstein, decides to adhere to his own diet he rejects the promethean fire that humanity has taken, and instead develops a mode of morality separate to the norms of humanity he wishes for the opportunity to live this peaceful picture away from the corruptions of human company he wishes to be better Orginal Review from 2015 Let s have a party Victor Let s get together and celebrate all things Gothic, and dark, and wonderful Let s have it in an attic in an old house in the middle of a thunderstorm, and then afterwards let s go to the graveyard with our shovels and our body bags Sounds good doesn t it Victor We could then create our own doppelg ngers from the corpses of criminals and geniuses Then we can abandon our marvellous creation to fend for itself with his childlike innocence, and then wonder why it goes so horribly wrong and blows up in our faces Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man On second thought we probably shouldn t have that party Because if we did it would end in bloodYes, lots of blood the blood of everyone you love, the blood of all your family Victor You blame the monster, but you are his creator You should have taught him the ways of the world and guided his first steps The things you two could have accomplished together So I ask you this Victor, who is the real monster Is it the creature that has gone on a murderous rampage or it you You are the man who played at god and was horrified at the consequence You judged your creation by his physical appearance, which was a reflection of your vain soul Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man Surely you don t wonder why the monster revenged himself upon youI ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel Indeed, the real monster of this novel is Victor Frankenstein, and not his monstrous creation The creature is a monster on the outside but Victor is on the inside, which is a form much worse By abandoning the creature he has taught him to become what his appearance is The first human experience he receives is rejection based upon his physicality His own creator recoils in disgust from him He cannot be blamed for his actions if all he has been taught is negative emotion, he will only respond in one way He is innocent and childlike but also a savage brute These are two things that should never be put together Woe to Victor Frankenstein s familyThere is love in me the likes of which you ve never seen There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other Mary Shelley raises questions of the danger of knowledge, and shows a probable consequence of trying to play god the novel portrays nineteen century fears for the rising field of science and knowledge and questions how far it could go Indeed, in this case Victor takes on the role of a God by creating new life She also shows us what can happen to a man if he so driven by this thirst for knowledge and how it will ultimately lead to a fall Victor reminds me somewhat of Doctor Faustus The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus in this regard Faustus is a man who sold his soul to Lucifer for unlimited knowledge in the form of arcane magic Victor, like Faustus, has stopped at nothing to gain his goal, but in the end is ultimately dissatisfied with the result Suffice to say, I simply adore this book as you may have gathered from my ramblings I think this, alongside Dracula, are amongst the strongest representations of Gothic literature Further, I have a real soft spot for epistolary means of storytelling I m not sure why, perhaps it s the stronger sense of intimacy you fell with the characters as you see their words on the page rather than an impartial narrators You see inside their heads and understand their motifs and feelings My favourite quoteThis was then the reward of my benevolence I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind. Listen to the passion, to the intellect and witness such a wasted opportunity Victor, you re a silly, silly, man. REREAD UPDATE September 2018 One of my bookclubs Click to check out Reading List Completists is reading this for September 2018 I figure it was a good time for a reread since it was one of my favorites and it has been over 20 years since I read it I did enjoy it again this time and it stands up to the 5 star review and designation of classic There were a few slow parts mainly when Dr Frankenstein would stop the narrative to wax poetical about something but, not enough t take a way from my overall enjoyment.I still recommend this for everyone and be sure to check out my full original review below.ORIGINAL REVIEW This is definitely one of my favorite books I was required to read in High School Also, it is my favorite of the classic horror novels It is perfectly written, suspenseful, and is a bit thought provoking than scary One of the best ways I can compare it to other classic horror novels is to Dracula which I read recently Dracula has so much repetitive filler that you do not find in Frankenstein, which is the main reason I find Frankenstein to be a enjoyable book.Also, I would say that this is a novel of the human condition than an actual horror novel Some terrifying things happen, but it is the monster within all of us that may end up being terrifying Funny side story when I read this in High School, it was around the same time that the Kenneth Branaugh adaptation came out at the theaters We were all encouraged to go see it and found it pretty close to the source material What was amusing was that Time Magazine had a review of the movie bashing it as untrue to the source material and how disappointed Shelley would be that the Boris Karlovian depiction of a lurching, flattop monster with bolts in its neck was ignored for a serious drama movie WHAT Time Magazine, for goodness sakes, published an article that claims to know the content of the book but is completely wrong and does it while bashing a movie that did a pretty good job with it I mean, it it is okay if you prefer the old time movie version of Frankenstein and it is a classic but to make definitive statements that are completely wrong in what is supposed to be a well thought of publication not your typical tabloid supermarket checkout fodder , that is just too much We need a copy editor over here This was such a nice surprise I ve been meaning to read this book for AGES, and I ve built it up in my head as this super dry, boring book, but boy was I ever wrong This book is juuuust about 200 years old, yet it feels incredibly timeless, than many other classics I ve read It was so interesting, and the character of Frankenstein s monster was so tragic and he can speak I didn t see that coming thanks to Hollywood ruining the image of Frankenstein that there just wasn t time to be bored I also listened to the audiobook narrated by Dan Stevens, and he did an amazing job Highly recommend The anecdote is legendary Mary Shelley, a teenager at the time, was spending a vacation in Switzerland with her fianc , Percy Shelley, their mutual friend, Lord Byron, and a few other people Was the weather gloomy that summer of 1816 Were the companions bored to death For amusement, one evening, they challenged each other into writing the scariest ghost story they could come up with No one remembers what the fellows wrote on that occasion Everyone has, at least, heard of the creation of the young woman and the misfortunes of Victor Frankenstein.Since then, and mainly since the invention of cinema a few decades later, what was only meant to be a chilling yet entertaining story, rose to the dimensions of a myth So much so that the original novel itself has been covered up by layer upon layer of external imagery which has very little to do with it in particular, the heavily made up face of Boris Karloff in the 1931 unfaithful film adaptation of this book Nowadays there are all sorts of adaptations e.g Kenneth Branagh s movie, with De Niro , parodies Mel Brook s Young Frankenstein being a famous one , and probably even porn versions.However, Mary Shelley s novel is not so much about ghosts or monsters, as it is a meditation on the Biblical theme of Creation and Fall Naturally, the idea of creating a living being using some human technique instead of natural reproduction , comes from the 16th century Jewish narrative of the Golem of Prague Just as noticeable is the sheer amount of subtle hints and overt references to Milton s Paradise Lost The daemon , rejected from the start like an ugly duckling, learns to read with a copy of this book seriously Take it as you will, Frankenstein is a brilliant and existential reverie on the theme of God and Satan Frankenstein and the daemon , Adam and Eve Frankenstein and Elizabeth the monster and the potential lady monster.Another striking aspect of Frankenstein s narrative is the Russian dolls, nested structure of the tales first Captain Walton s letters, which frame the whole novel, then Victor Frankenstein s account and, finally, a tale within the tale, the daemon s story This echoes back to the One Thousand and One Nights, to which Mary Shelley might have had access, through Antoine Galland s translation into French perhaps she had a copy of the Grub Street edition or the Jonathan Scott translation of Galland into English I do not know Also, Safie s story, around the middle of the novel another embedded tale within a tale has clear oriental undertones.It has been said over and over that Mary Shelley s book might have been the first Science Fiction novel This is a bit of a stretch since there is not much science or technology to speak of in Frankenstein, apart from a few mentions of Paracelsus and a couple of other alchemists and astrologers The minor references to electricity, magnetism and galvanism were in the spirit of the times, but Michael Faraday, who would soon bring significant breakthroughs in these fields, was about the same age as the precocious author of Frankenstein.The way I see it, the presence of electromagnetism is not only a reference to the myth of Prometheus and the stolen fire but is also linked to a pervasive and typically Romantic fascination with landscapes now sunny, beautiful and pleasant, now stormy, sublime and menacing, ghastly thunderbolts ripping the clouds apart Mary Shelley had a few predecessors in this field Coleridge is quoted than a few times in her novel , but that sort of imagery was, by and large, a novelty at the time It might be interesting to note that while Mary Shelley was writing Frankenstein, Caspar David Friedrich was painting his famous Wanderer above the Sea of Fog see below This obsession with ominous landscapes would soon become a trope within the Gothic literary tradition.It has also been alleged that Frankenstein was at the inception of the modern Horror genre, years before Bram Stoker s Dracula However, the general impression, when reading Mary Shelley s book, is not so much a feeling of terror conveyed to the reader, as a Romantic, and quite often bombastic expression of strong emotions on the part of the narrators despair, anguish, despondency, melancholy, misery, wretchedness, affliction are words that come back again and again under Mary Shelley s pen All this might have been sincerely felt by Mary herself, who had gone through a few hardships in her life Moreover, both Frankenstein and the monster go from bad to worse throughout this tragic novel However, to a modern reader, this accumulation of epithets probably feels quaint, affected and difficult to relate to I, for my part, found this unrestrained schmaltzy and emphatic tone rather tedious.To conclude, while I found Mary Shelley to be of a typical Romantic figure than a prophet of Horror or Science Fiction, I will gladly concede that she has probably been a significant inspiration to crime mystery novels, such as Stevenson s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and later avatars of serial killers on a murderous rampage It has probably also exerted a strong influence on scary adventure stories, such as Poe s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Wells Island of Doctor Moreau, or Lovecraft s At the Mountains of Madness It might, in the present day, become once a significant source of inspiration, as humanity is possibly on the verge of creating new forms of sentient and intelligent beings AI, cyborgs, etc , out of GMO, silicon or some weird combination of the two Edit The recent Mary Shelley biopic 2017 by Aifaa al Mansour, with the excellent Elle Fanning, is primarily a romance, recounting the complicated situation in which the young woman met her husband and how she got to write her masterpiece The portrayals of Percy Shelley and Lord Byron are rather unflattering, to say the least Second edit Recent rewatch after releasing his box office hit Bram Stocker s Dracula 1992 , Francis Ford Coppola, riding the wave of success, embarked on Mary Shelley s Frankenstein 1994 , directed by Kenneth Branagh at the time a young and acclaimed director of Shakespeare adaptations The cast of this movie is imposing De Niro, Branagh, Hulce, Bonham Carter, Holm, Cleese all at the top of their game The screenplay written by Frank Darabont, who would later develop The Walking Dead TV show is, for the most part, faithful to Mary Shelley s novel However, while Coppola s Dracula was darkly luxurious and decadent, the style of Branagh s Frankenstein is loud and vehement, at times stomach churning or downright laughable Well worth a shot anyway.
Percy Bysshe Shelley She was the daughter of the political philosopher
- 288 pages
- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- 07 November 2019 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley