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Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus - The 1818 Text

Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus - The 1818 Text

Paperback Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)

By (author) Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Edited by Marilyn Butler

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 18mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199537151
  • ISBN 13: 9780199537150
  • Edition: 8000
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 5,834

Product description

Frankenstein was Mary Shelley's immensely powerful contribution to the ghost stories which she, Percy Shelley, and Byron wrote one wet summer in Switzerland. Its protagonist is a young student of natural philosophy, who learns the secret of imparting life to a creature constructed from relics of the dead, with horrific consequences. Frankenstein confronts some of the most feared innovations of evolutionism: topics such as degeneracy, hereditary disease, and mankind's status as a species of animal. The text used here is from the 1818 edition, which is a mocking expose of leaders and achievers who leave desolation in their wake, showing mankind its choice - to live cooperatively or to die of selfishness. It is also a black comedy, and harder and wittier than the 1831 version with which we are more familiar. Drawing on new research, Marilyn Butler examines the novel in the context of the radical sciences, which were developing among much controversy in the years following the Napoleonic Wars, and shows how Frankenstein's experiment relates to a contemporary debate between the champions of materialist science and of received religion. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Author information

Marilyn Butler is King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at King's College, Cambridge. She is the author of Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries (1981) and co-editor of Pickering's Works of Mary Wollstonecraft (1989). She has also edited Mary Shelley's The last Man, published in World's Classics in 1994. .

Review quote

'makes the original 1818 text easily available, and there are good reasons for welcoming it ... Butler's introduction is a rich essay in historical contextualisation, emphasising the Shelleys' early links with materialist physiology and showing how the 1831 edition reflected the broad intellectual changes of the intervening years.' The English Association 'this edition is worth a browse' Daily Telegraph 'The excellent introduction discusses the circumstances of its writing in the wider context of social and scientific controversy.' Good Book Guide, January 1995